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our story into foster care

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our story into foster care

May is National Foster Care month so in honor of that, I am doing my first annual 31 Day Challenge and the tag to use/follow will be #fosterchallenge2018

Our Story Into Foster Care

I had always wanted to adopt but also wasn’t sure if I wanted to be a mom. Glenn and I had been married a long time and had discussed trying to have kids but I was struggling with migraines, chronic knee pain and what I know now was hypothyroidism. We decided that we would try to adopt because we heard it would take a long time anyway and to be honest, that was comforting to us.

We went through the training, the home assessments and all the requirements to adopt through the Province of Alberta. We also went and started our application for international adoption, but when they closed Ukraine, we stopped and never stared again. During this time we met the most amazing Permanency worker who took her time with us, who explained everything and was able to speak so both Glenn and I were comfortable. We trusted her and we could tell she was someone who cared about us and finding a perfect match for us. We sat down with her to do one of hardest things we have ever had to do, a checklist of what you would be willing to take in a child and what you would not. This made me realize just how selfish we were and how we were attached to the idea of a perfect child. She guided us through and made some suggestions. We agreed on our requirements and she went on her way with the promise that we would wait a long time if we would ever get placed because our requirements were not anything that was coming through their system. We went on our way and were approved and waiting. During this time we made an agreement with God. I knew I could never say no. If a child was needing help I would do anything to help. So we have a pact. I will never say no, but I will trust when a door is closed. I will not hunt things down and make things happen (as I do in most other areas of my life) I will trust God and know His will is perfect and He will be in charge.

Very shortly during or after this we started doing respite for a little guy and his baby sister. We wanted to help a wonderful, generous and amazing woman from our church as she had taken these children on and everything that came with them. We very quickly fell in love with the kids. We would take them every chance we got and soon started asking our worker if we could ever parent them. We got our first NO. Looking back it was for the best, but I can’t tell you the pain that had. We had started to dream of them in our home, they had met our family, we had discussed cultural issues with trusted friends… we had jumped the gun and I was reminded of our pact with God that he would handle this. He loves His children and will look after them. That is not my job, I am just His hand and feet.

We continued to provide respite for the children we thought would live in our home until one day we got a call from our worker. It was not even a year into our waiting. She asked us if we would consider dropping some of our requirements. She particularly asked us to more to what was then the Foster to Adopt program instead of Adoption. She knew we were uncomfortable with the idea of taking a child in just to have them leave but she told us she knew the system and knew we would have a better chance at being placed. Glenn said no and I said yes. We decided to wait a few days. We discussed it and decided that because we trusted our worker and that God would only give us something that we could handle that we would switch our requirements. Again we went into wait mode. But not for long. Shortly after our worker called us with a circumstance that lead us to our son Porter. We had a bit of a rough start with him due to some ‘system’ stuff but were able to have his adoption completed within 9 months. Even with dealing with the Slave Lake wildfires and our workers home buring and also thinking our files were burned in the fire. We ended up moving to Sherwood Park at the time his final adoption was processed and very shortly were called to take his little sister. From this point on we have had many NO’s and a few more YES’. They have all been guided by God and I trust He will continue to guide our journey.

We are now foster parents and work very hard to reunite the children that are in our home to their families. Sometimes I wish that another YES was coming our way, but in the meantime I really am in love with providing love, compassion and help to our kids birth moms. My calling is to advocate for fostering/permanency/adoption and I would love to open some doors to you if you are wanting to know more. Message me for information about our next event:)

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birthday post

 

i hate my birthday... and selfies

there I said it, as an annoyingly optimistic and constant goal-setting perfectionist I have a hard time with the idea of looking over your year and measuring your actual outcomes against your goals. i am harder on myself than anyone else and have very high expectations. when a birthday rolls around i hide, i get awkward because i don't want to be in the wrong place at the wrong time (i.e. near my mom and a restaurant that allows people to sing to birthday girls!) and i hate the attention. so... now it is almost two months after my birthday so this seems like a wonderful time to post this:)

very close to my 31st birthday i was having a hard time trying to accomplish all that my life needed me to. there were two little humans, one big human, one full-time business, one part-time business, family, friends, a house... nothing really that no one else had, but it was making me tired. i mean really tired. i felt lazy and i felt like i was not doing any of it well. my brain was foggy, my muscles were tired, i was so tired but could not sleep, i was more forgetful than usual, i couldn't lose weight and was out of control with my emotions. the first morning i made coffee for myself i felt very weird. i had never relied on anything to stay awake and, maybe it was the caffeine, it made me stop to think. i thought of how out of control it all seemed and how i could have not noticed that i was not okay. sometimes i internalize things so much and for so long that i truly believe they are the truth.

as with everything in my life, i spoke to my best friend about it. he (glenn) told me that i was not lazy and that i should in fact go to the doctor to get it checked out. when i went i was told that i needed go on anti-depressants and that we would have to start trying thyroid medications. i believe that medication has its role and have actually had to use it before, but i knew something else was wrong. i thanked the doctor for his time and told him i would not take his prescription. i then booked a very expensive consultation with a naturopath and headed off to see her. during the meeting with the naturopath i was told that my thyroid and adrenal health was devastating. i was given some supplements to try to kick start things and was told the only reason that i was even doing as well as i was was due to the fact that our family eats very well. with glenn's crohns disease we basically eat paleo. i began using the supplements and saw a huge difference in some symptoms such as skin dryness, sleeping at night and some ease in cravings. the only bad thing was my migraine activity went through the roof. i needed something different and started searching... and searching... finally i found what works for me. it is called thrive and it has changed my life. i haven't felt this good in a long time and it is starting to show. this is not a sales pitch, but it is something that is working for me and i would love to help you out if you feel it is right for you! here is a link that you can view the program on and please let me know if you have any other questions!

http://chelsdawn.le-vel.com/

to keep this post somewhat light and casual... here are some other things that work for me

eyelash extensions - seriously changed my life and i feel weird saying that because i am NOT someone who spends much time on my makeup

in-home childcare - i have childcare come to my home one day a week and don't know how i would do what i do without this

paper planners and iPhone alarms - i have to have both. i remember things better if i have written them down but can't trust myself without an alarm

becoming - this event gives me such a boost and i don't think i can do my business without it. i love you ladies

mint.com - this financial tracker app is amazing and my husband and i love to see our accounts in real time... or sometimes hate to see them:(

chalkboards - i love these suckers

muck boots - honestly... i am not cool at all. most of my photography sessions include me wearing these. i am not the photographer that shoots in heels

j.crew - i have always and will always love their brand. it just works for me

online shopping and then leaving the cart - sometimes i need to shop online, fill a cart and then leave it. no buyers remorse and with the wonderful cookies i can usually find it if i indeed need the items

iPhone - this works for me. everything about apple products make me happy and... well... they are beautiful

topknot - i have no idea what i will do when this is not okay to wear in public

hippie chic - this fragrance has raspberry in it... sold!

Instagram - if you love pictures and hate drama then Instagram is for you... and me

target dollar items - my heart broke when target pulled from Canada. i guess i am back to bringing a spare suitcase to the states when we go

suave dry shampoo - only found in the states so i get my family to bootleg it back for me

soft lips - this is the best for chapped lips. my fav is the coconut one

joe - this clothing line for superstore is the best and reminds me of a cheaper j.crew

glenn - he is my opposite and is the best thing that ever happened to me. he is my biggest fan and my strongest defender. i love him and am grateful for him EVERYDAY

kraft peanut butter - we have tried it all and just keep going back to this one

clothing optional living - haaaaa!! i can see you all cringing... haaaaa!! but seriously... call before you stop by

diy laundry detergent and febreeze - when you have kids you will understand

power nap app - i am a horrible napper and can never make myself get up or when i do i am grumpy. this app is perfect to put you to sleep and wake you up in an 'unbear' like way

white - love it... am drawn to it... can't live without it

texting - my preferred way of communicating. possibly because i can use point form

ed sheeran, dolly parton, gary allan, jonny lang, ray lamontagne, taylor swift, pink and lora jol - they always make it better

self employment - i am grateful for my husband who works so i can stay home and also run my own business

fostering and adoption - works for us

forest green and gray - also love these... not in the same way as white, but they still deserved a mention

aviators - yup, tried other sunglasses and keep coming back to these

well, that may be everything that i can think of. these are some of the things that work for me. hope you enjoy!

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i remember

i remember discussing the idea of glenn applying for edmonton fire services

i remember telling him we would do whatever it took to get in and buying a stopwatch so we could train together

i remember when he signed his papers to start work with the department

i remember celebrating

i remember the text from ashley asking if we wanted anything from our house

i remember driving home through the swan hills seeing fires all around

i remember glenn calling jamie and bruce to see what he could do

i remember him going to bed right away so he could check in the next morning

i remember driving to town to fuel up, buy water and food, diapers (because we only had cloth) and formula

i remember watering my house and roof

i remember glenn leaving without hooking my trailer up... and i was so mad, because i wanted to have the trailer

i remember hooking up the water again the next morning after feeling the wind... crazy winds

i remember my neighbours coming over to see if i needed help loading anything and then telling me they were leaving

i remember not packing anything beyond daily needs and my anthropologie clothes because i didn't even know where to start

i remember seeing the fire start over the hill, calling glenn and getting nothing, but deciding to leave

i remember calling my friend lisa to see if we could go to her house

i remember getting a text from my friend saying they had to turn around because the fire crossed the highway just in front of them

i remember registering at the college with our adoption/permanency worker and telling her i thought our house was gone and she asked if we needed anything

i remember telling her we were fine and that all that mattered is that i had my family (porter and my dogs)

i remember getting to lisa's and changing porter's diaper, putting it in a plastic bag and in their freezer

i remember the winds changing, the smoke rolling in like a tsunami and us making the decision to head to the airport/helicopter hanger

i remember getting in the vehicle behind lisa and immediately being consumed by smoke so thick that i lost her (she was 5 feet in front of me)

i remember not being able to see anything

i remember the sound of propane tanks popping

i remember the roar of the wind and fire

i remember people loading everything they could and trying to get out of the neighbourhood

i remember trying to call glenn when i could see the fire hit to outskirts of the town of slave lake

i remember he didn't answer but i knew he was working between the fire and the town and if the fire had made it to town then the fire had burned through where he was

i remember not knowing if i would see him again

i remember thinking i needed to help and getting my SRD radio out

i remember seeing a young girl trying to flag someone down in the opposite direction i was suppose to go

i remember turning toward her instead and getting her in the vehicle

i remember her crying and saying she could not get ahold of her family and needed to get to them

i remember driving her to her house and the look on her face when her neighbour told her they had already evacuated

i remember getting stuck in town because of the detour and seeing the flames

i remember making a plan to open the canopy to let the dogs out, grabbing porter and running for the parking lot at walmart

i remember calling glenn and leaving him a voicemail saying i promised to look after porter and i loved him

i remember calling my mom and telling her what was happening and telling her i loved her and to pray

i remember finally getting a hold of lisa and meeting her to make our first attempt at evacuating town

i remember driving by my friend jake's SRD work truck and seeing him standing leaning on the truck

i remember pulling into the ditch and running toward him

i remember telling lisa something was not okay

i remember her asking me why and what we should do

i remember grabbing jake and pushing him to the ground

i remember his lively eyes being foggy, his booming voice being unsure and quaking and his hard, calloused hands being clammy and weak

i remember grabbing his radio and calling for a medic

i remember the response was there were no medics available

i remember telling them to send a police office

i remember the police officer coming and asking what the problem was

i remember telling him to take jake to the hospital even if he said he was okay

i remember getting him to promise me that they would contact forestry to tell them about jake and so that he was looked after

i remember telling lisa i needed to go back to help

i remember going back and lying to a police officer that i had been called back:(

i remember driving back into town and stopping when i saw it and lisa saying we needed to go

i remember evacuating and seeing ashley at the corner of the athabasca river and waving and crying

i remember getting to lisa's parents place and knowing we would be okay

i remember porter learning to suck his thumb to sooth himself because he had not been out of his car seat for over 8 hours

i remember not sleeping because i was so worried porter would wake anyone up

i remember getting a call from glenn saying the fire had jumped over them and he was fine

i remember him saying it looked like a war zone but he felt safe because he was with jamie and the fire department

i remember how amazing lisa and her family were to us

i remember deciding to go out to boston pizza (felt like home) and seeing the first newspaper image of the fire

i remember when the waitress noticed the looks on our face and asked if we were from there

i remember we said yes and she asked if we lost our home

i remember we didn't know

i remember the waitress taking forever to bring our bill and getting irritated

i remember when she finally did come it was comped

i remember when we found out that lisa had lost her home and that mine was okay

i remember wanting to throw up with guilt

i remember going to the second hand store to buy some clothes because we didn't want to have all new things

i remember getting a call from the manager for child and family services and her telling me that our adoption workers house had burnt

i remember being petrified that she was going to tell me that porter would be placed somewhere else because of what we were going through

i remember holding in tears the whole call and then crying just as she said goodbye

i remember her immediately calling back and saying the only thing i needed to hear, that porter would be staying with us no matter what

i remember going for lunch and seeing edmonton fire fighters

i remember going over and thanking them of coming to help and them asking about glenn

i remember telling him that he just signed on with them and that his start date was very soon

i remember going home two weeks later and mowing our neighbours lawns for hours so they would come back to some sort of normalcy

i remember offering our home to many friends because we were leaving and their houses burnt down

i remember thinking it wasn't fair

i remember knowing it wasn't fair

i remember feeling guilty for leaving, although it wasn't because of the fire

i remember how exhausted glenn was when he started his training

i remember how sick glenn was during the fire and then with his training (finding out a year later that he has crohns disease)

i remember will and kate coming to slave lake

i remember getting a truck service on my car and the tech asking jokingly if i had been to hell because my cabin air filter was black

i remember screaming like a little girl when i saw them drive by

i remember crying the first time i saw lisa's parents months after the evacuation

i remember wondering why our house hadn't burnt because our raised garden beds were burnt, the house directly across the street was burnt and the grass all around us (found out months later that some neighbours had stayed behind and worked to save our yard because if our house had went the rest of the street most likely would have too)

i remember these things especially on the fireversary of the slave lake fire... but what i choose to remember about this whole thing was the miracle that God kept people safe (with the exception of one brave helicopter pilot) in one of the biggest and fastest destructive events in alberta's history, that the heroes were found in the everyday people as well as our firefighters and emergency service workers, that family doesn't have anything to do with blood, that sometimes the best form of helping is to not try to help, people are resilient and slave lake is just amazing

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