The REAL Deal

The REAL Deal
Here you will find the chronicals of the Crazy Crook Crew...enjoy:)

Monday, September 26, 2011

It's a boy!

On February 5th, I went to bed with two instinctual feelings...we were having a boy, and he would be here soon.  Around 7:00 the next morning, the phone rang.  I jumped out of bed and did my best to answer without a sleep voice.  It was 'A' (what I'm calling our birthmom), and she was in labor.  We had heavy snowfall on the 4th and 5th and she was snowed in.  She was home alone with her girls and her car doors were frozen shut.  Her voice was so desperate, she had no one else she could call...she needed us to come get her and take her to the hospital.  I was calm with her on the phone, but once I hung up, I went into panic mode.  We had a plan for this moment, but our plan didn't account for all the snow.  I needed to call our close friends (who live about a mile away) to come stay with the babies until my mom and sister could get here.  JT needed to shovel the driveway so we could get out of the garage.  I knew we wouldn't be able to drive the way we normally would and we'd have to take a much longer route by the interstate.  I set all plans in motion and called 'A' back.  I told her what was going on and she told me how close her contractions were.  I let her know that we were moving as fast as possible, but she may need to get an ambulance.  I packed some things and got myself ready while JT shoveled the drive.  Our friends got stuck on their drive over...there was literally feet of snow in the neighborhoods, and our departure was delayed.  Once they arrived, we left and had to drive down the interstate at about 10 to 20 miles an hour.  There were cars off the road as far as we could see.  We were anxious, nervous, excited, scared, and very frustrated with the weather created circumstances.  'A' called me during the drive, she was in an ambulance on her way to the hospital, and dialating quickly.  Her girls were riding to the hospital in a police car and she asked me if JT would mind sitting with them once we arrived.  Everything was happening so fast...I was a little heart broken.  She wanted me to be there with her, she had no one.  When I first met her, she told me that I was her baby's mother and she wanted me to be a part of the delivery.  She said that as his mom, I should share in the experience and she wanted me to cut the umbilical cord... how amazing is that?!  So, although I was beyond excited to meet our baby and find out if he was a boy or a girl, I was also sad that I was missing out on something so huge.  I wanted to be there for her and I felt like I was letting her down.
When we arrived, a nurse showed JT to the waiting room where the girls were playing.  Another nurse rushed me back to 'A's room and spoiled the surprise on the way:)  It's a boy!  I walked into the room, she had just delivered him minutes ago.  I'll never forget the first time my eyes saw my baby...I'm pretty sure I turned into a puddle of mommy mush right there on the floor.  Is this real life?  I made my way over to him and a nurse wrapped him up and put him in my arms.  It was like holding a piece of heaven...I had prayed for this baby for years, my heart beat for this moment, and it was finally here.  I was his mom and he would be ours forever.  I walked over to 'A' when the doctor was done with her and asked if she'd like to hold him.  She hesitated and then accepted my offer.  She filled me in on how fast it all happened...she was only at the hospital for 20 minutes before she delivered.  The baby was very bruised and swollen from his speedy descent down the birth canal.  He looked perfect to me:)
Once 'A's roommate arrived to pick up the girls, JT was free to meet his son.  The nurse gave us our own room and our little family spent the afternoon together.  This is the baby God meant for us...everything we went through on our journey to finding him was suddenly so much more than worth it.  He's here, he's healthy, he's ours, he's perfect.  We decided to spend the night with our son, the nurses settled us into a room with a lovely labor bed and we spent our first night with Rowan Thomas Crook.  He slept a whole lot better than we did:)  Although we do like to cuddle, a night in a labor bed with your spouse brings a whole new meaning to the word.  We spent more time in 'A's room than we did our own and we let her have as much time with Rowan as she wanted.  Our friendship continued to grow and strengthen and man, I love that woman.  Unless you've had this experience, it's impossible to understand how I feel about her.  She gave us a child, she chose us, she chose a life with us for her baby.  It's a gift like no other, a love that requires so much sacrifice.  Adoption. Is. Beautiful...the act itself, the picture it portrays of God's love for His children, how easy and perfect this amazing love is, it's all beautiful.  
'A' decided not to spend her entire 48 hours in the hospital recovering, she left on Sunday evening and  JT and I headed home with our beautiful baby boy.  We made it just in time to watch the Colts lose the Super Bowl.  We weren't the slightest bit disappointed, we were sitting in our living room holding OUR baby boy and our world was perfect.  My parents were keeping Bubby and Sissy until Monday night and we enjoyed our day at home as the parents of one.  The anticipation of parenting a 25 month old, 10 month old, and our newborn made our heads spin.  The above picture was snapped while we were getting our "pose" ready for a family photo.  I absolutely love it because this one is the REAL deal.  Yes, we have the pretty, perfect one hanging on our living room wall.  But we also have a 5x7 of this one on our end table...it just makes me smile.  I mean really, it looks like Bubby is swinging circles around JT's neck, and Sissy is watching with sincere concern as I'm about to drop the baby.  Anyway, I'll fill you in on what that life was life next Monday.  I thought the arrival of the "bigs" was a shock to our system...throw a newborn in there and we were all of the sudden just keeping our heads above water.  We became the parents of three children under the age of three in about 6 months.  And although becoming a mother was my heart's desire...this wasn't quite the way my heart and I had imagined it:)  We had grown so much over the last 6 months, but we still had a long way to go.  I'll wrap this up with a poem today.  I wrote this about 2 months after Rowan's birth and I mailed it to 'A' to let her know what she means to me...she loved it:)

We think of you so often
One word always comes to mind
That word is amazing
You are strong, courageous, kind
The gift that you have given
We could never begin to repay
We cherish you and our beautiful baby
Every single day
Our hearts are overflowing
We’ve never known a love like this
One that intensifies every day
With every single kiss

I hope you know you’ve changed our lives

You have made our dreams come true
Through you our prayers were answered
That makes you our angel too
There are other choices
You could have made so easily
You chose to give your baby life
And give two strangers a family

Well at first we were strangers

Knowing only the minimum
Now we’ve become friends
And a forever bond has begun
We’ve been through many heartbreaks
One disappointment after another
Then along came you
And you let me become a mother

I wanted something I didn’t have

For quite a few years
I thought about it every day
And cried many tears

Now Rowan has arrived

Those years of hurt have been erased
All those painful feelings
Have now been replaced

With a love that you provided

A gift that you chose to give
And we’ll adore this child that binds us
As long as there’s life to live


~Samantha

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

2010 throwback for giggles:) A perfectly no good very bad Monday

This is something I wrote exactly one year ago today.  I came across it and had to share...hope it makes you chuckle:)  I remember this like it was yesterday.

So...Rowan and I woke up (we're still roommates:) and came downstairs like we do every day. I always put him on the floor and give him some toys to play with so I can get back upstairs to get babies #2 and #3. Only this time I reached into the toybox to find several of his toys covered in cat puke, GROSS! I got some clean ones off the bottom and then ran upstairs to get baby #2. I walked into Bubby's room and almost passed out from the smell...his entire bed was covered in poop, his pillow even had to be thrown away. Uh oh, this isn't part of the routine...don't panic spaz mom. I carefully airlifted him out of bed and stuck him right in the bathtub. Meanwhile, Rowan is downstairs unattended and I hadn't raised the blinds, hung up the curtain or put the cat food and water on the counter (all opportunities for destruction). And Sissy is still in bed waiting ever so patiently for my arrival. She simply refuses to get out of bed on her own, odd but kinda nice. Leaving Bubby in the bathtub unsupervised is not an option so I calmly sweat through the bathing process, wrap him up in a towel and hurry to get his sister. She was less than thrilled that her brother had taken a bath without her and she informed me that she had pooped in her pull-up. We all rush down the stairs and I stick Sissy on the potty (she had a false alarm thank goodness) and start lotioning the Bubster. As soon as he was smelling fresh and ready to start the day, Rowan poops. So I begin to change him while Sissy is yelling " I'm done Mama" stranded on the toilet... poor thing. Have I mentioned that I have to use the bathroom? Anyway, everyone is now cleaned and changed and ready for breakfast. They are all in their chairs waiting patiently when I spill Sissy's milk cup ALL OVER the counter, floor, rug, cabinets, and box of applejacks. Good job me. I get their breakfast and the clean up begins. After I'm done with the great milk spill of 2010, I sweep the kitchen floor and lint roll (cats) the furniture like I do every day. Then I move on to vaccum the living room. I don't always do this but it was very necessary and my husband had forgotten to do it the night before. Okay...breath. No wait! I have to completely disinfect Bubby's crib and all the cat puke toys! Oh my...they're wrapping up breakfast, there's no time. The sweating begins again. It's not like I can go upstairs when my babies are downstairs playing, they're all under 3 and it's simply a bad idea:) I leave them in their chairs and head on up...oh that smell. I got everything out and cloroxed the entire crib and come down to find them all quietly watching sesame street (I strategically placed them so they could see the TV). I start the stinkiest load of laundry I've ever started and moved on to the cat puke toys. You know, those cats used to be our babies, we showered them with attention and had our camera aimed at them all the time. Now it seems they just get in the way, cost us money, and make messes...sad. Have I mentioned I have to use the bathroom? Anyway, after the chaos is over I realize that I did it! JT didn't have to come home from work, my babies all survived, my botched routine didn't kill me, and I did it! Six months ago this story would have read much differently. There would have been tears, a 911 call to my hubby, a blemish or two would have sprung up in all the chaos, and a morning of mayhem would have set the tone for a rough day. I'm still high strung and slightly dramatic, but I think those qualities are essential for survival in my situation:) I am SO glad God is continually molding me. There are still many improvements to be made, but it's just refreshing to realize how far I've come. I LOVE this life God has created for me. If my life had gone according to my plans, I would have missed SO much. Oh, and the rest of my day was fabulous...complete with simultaneous triple napping, a new word from the one year old, a giggling teether (abnormal), and an accident free two year old (typical)! And it was all topped off with 2 super sweet friends coming to my house to watch all three babies so we could go to our life group. I hope this glimpse into my life made you giggle:)

Livin and Lovin Life~Crazy Mama Crook

Monday, September 19, 2011

THE Match!

It's January 2010, and we just had an amazing Christmas and New Years.  We were loving on our babies and I was working on being content...trying to focus on the blessings I did have and not on the things I didn't.  My sister Caryn came up almost every Friday to hang out and love on the babies.  On Friday, January 15, I was leaving her at home with Sissy so I could take Bubby to an appointment.  I was in the car getting ready to pull out of the garage when she ran outside with the phone in her hand.  It was our adoption couseler and yes...we had another match.  She told me all about the birthmom who chose us, and that she was due in just two weeks and wanted to meet us!  After Bubby's appointment, I drove to JT's school and walked into a gym full of kiddos.  I wanted to tell him the news in person.  He must have been super excited because he went in for a kiss!  Right there in front of his students!  I denied him in a nick of time, those 4th graders would have went nuts!  Everything about this felt different, I think the fact that she chose us and wanted to meet us made it seem more real.  I left this out of my last blog, but when we were matched before, the birthmom didn't actually choose us.  We were her only option, there was no one else to choose from.  This time the birthmom (I'll call her A) did have other couples to choose from, and she chose us!  That in and of itself was a wonderful feeling.  A woman chose US to be her baby's mom and dad.  We met her 2 days later and it was just plain perfect.  She was perfect.  She explained everything, why she chose adoption, why she chose us, what she wanted for her baby, everything.  She was beautiful, smart, well-spoken, kind, and just...I'm going to say it again...perfect.  She was wearing jeans and a hoodie and I was surprised at how small she was for being almost 9 months pregnant.  If I hadn't already known, I wouldn't have guessed she was pergnant at all.  She told us a little about the birth father, he wasn't involved in any way and that was how she wanted it.  We don't even know his name.  She explained her family situation, she is a single mom struggling to take care of her two daughters, they were 1 and 2 at the time.  She is very close to her parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and they all live in the same town.  She chose to keep her pregnancy a secret from them because they didn't know about and wouldn't approve of her previous relationship with the birthfather.  Her family has a very sad history of racism and her fear was that she and her girls would be disowned if they even knew she was pregnant with a biracial baby.  Very sad.  She loved and needed her family, she relied heavily on them for support.  She also wanted more for her baby.  She said that he deserved a big family and that was one thing that made us stand out.  My side of the family is kind of huge.  She also said she loved how happy we looked in all of our pictures, she loved our smiles.  Music is a big part of her life and so the fact that I sang was important to her.  She loved that JT was a teacher and that I planned to stay home with the baby.  She had read our bio which explained what we had been through with Julie...she said that it broke her heart and she assured us that she was not going to do that to us again.  I would have never asked her anything like that, but the fact that she brought it up and said that to me made me cry...right there in front of her.  It was like she knew our biggest fear and wanted us to wait on our baby with peace.  That was something we thought was impossible in the adoption process, but she gave us that gift and we accepted with complete trust.  She talked about her girls and we shared funny stories.  She was very matter of fact and unemotional.  She didn't know the sex of the baby and had no prenatal care.  I think she avoided these things to keep herself from getting attached, it was almost like she tried to hide her pregnancy from herself until inevitably, she had to deal with it.  She didn't even call the agency to start the adoption process.  She went to the hospital for an unrelated reason around 37 weeks, and they asked her about her pregnancy.  When she told them her intentions, they connected her with an attorney who was connected with the agency.  A couple phone calls and a meeting at Starbucks later, we were chosen...beautiful.  After our dinner we walked to the parking lot together, we hugged, shared a few fears, and talked about how relieved we both were that it was so easy to be friends.  We were authentic...and for me, given the situation, it was surprisingly easy.  She really wanted us to meet her girls so we set up another dinner date for the next week. 
I spent our drive home talking a mile and minute with my heart pounding in my chest.  Is this real life?  Is this really, finally, happening to us?  It was so surreal.  We were chatting away and loving our la la land until we saw the red and blue flashing lights behind us.  We were driving through a small town, unfamiliar with the area, and probably not paying much attention.  We got off without a ticket but it wouldn't have mattered either way, we were having a baby in 2 weeks!  We just met and fell in love with the birthmom of our child and nothing was getting us down:)  Well...then I got the flu during the week, the bad flu.  I hadn't thrown up in years, maybe decades, and it was horrible.  I threw up until I was throwing up air, I couldn't breath, and was too weak to move.  I remember laying on the bathroom floor after an attempted shower and telling JT that I was ready to go home to Jesus.  It was bad.  That being said, I believe it's semi important to note here that one of my many nicknames (given by my husband) is "weak sauce".  Anyway, I guess you could say I was physically down, but my heart was still good...just a little nervous that A could go into labor early and I would be in this gross sickly state.  But she didn't and I was fully recovered by our next dinner date.
She called me almost every day and I loved it.  I could feel how important our friendship was to her and I could also tell that she didn't really have anyone else to talk to.  We talked a little about the baby and alot about life.  We were unlikely friends with something HUGE in common.  She was giving life to the very child we had been praying for for years.  Adoption. Is. Beautiful.  We met her girls and it was a delight and privilege.  The following Saturday we had a foster care training class in her town, it was also her due date!  I was on edge, cell phone in hand the entire time...no call.  We continued to talk every day and with each one that passed, we both grew more anxious.  On Friday, February 5th, I walked in Bubby's room to pray over him before I went to bed.  Afterward, I just stood there watching him sleep and this feeling came over me.  I looked behind me at all the baby boy things I had gotten at my shower in December and I just knew it was going to be a boy.  And I had a feeling he was coming very soon.
You'll have to wait to find out how soon until next Monday...this blog is getting way long.  The memories of his birth are flooding my mind right now and the joy is manifesting in an enormous smile as I sit here at the computer.  I can't wait to tell you about it:)  I am going to post an extra blog this week just for giggles...look for it on Wednesday.  Thanks for reading friends!
Love,
Crazy Mama Crook

Monday, September 12, 2011

We have match! No we don't...wait...do we?

In the coming months after the arrival of our sweet babies, things settled down drastically.  Bubby was sleeping through the night, his reflux was finally properly medicated, and we would say goodbye to his cast.  He began physical, occupational, and nutritional therapies to get him healthy and caught up developmentally.  Sissy would learn to love and trust my husband and also develop a pesky case of separation anxiety.  We all bonded so quickly...I won't say it was "easy" to take care of two children this small but it was SO easy to love them.  We had no idea how long they would be with us but I decided to quit my job to stay home with them.  I wanted to give them all of my love and attention and really invest in them while we were blessed to have them in our home.  I had wanted to be a mother for a long time, we were in the process of adopting a baby.  And right now God was trusting me to mother two fragile babies and I wanted to give it my all. 
I worked very hard at my relationship with their birthmom, I'll call her L.  I took the babies to visit her twice a week and I remember every detail about our first meeting.  I didn't know anything about her but when I walked into the waiting room, I knew who she was.  I had this plan to hug her as soon as I saw her... I thought that would thwart any intention she had to hate me.  I had taken several pictures in the one week I'd had them so I put them all in an album for her.  I could tell the hug made her feel awkward but I do believe my plan worked;)  And she loved the album of her babies. I wouldn't say we "hit it off" but we were kind to eachother and considering my worst fear...kind worked for me!  My interactions with her were short and sweet until the day I was taking Bubby to the doctor after a visit.  I felt God tugging at my heart to ask her to come along.  I didn't really want to, my anxiety was through the roof as I contemplated.  I knew I had to get permission and  my phone call wasn't returned until we were already on our way to the Dr.'s office.  Our family case manager said inviting L to come along was a great idea so I turned the car around and found her walking down the street.  I pulled over, yelled my invite out the window and she gladly accepted.  I ended up taking her to work after Bubby's appointment and we spent several hours together.  I would say that is the day I felt like we became friends.  We had regular visits through September and then for various reasons she moved out of state where she had family.  This created quite a few problems and DCS immediately began working on moving the kids to live with relatives where they could continue visits with their mother.  The process was long and complicated, lots of paperwork and communication between states, I was informed it would take a while which was perfectly fine with us.  We were selfishly hoping to be with them for Thanksgiving. 
Now we were still working on our adoption through the fall...November came and as soon as we became an "active" couple we had a match!  Actually we were matched shortly before we were "active". There was such a great need for plan 3 adoptive couples and the birthmom we were matched with was due in 3 weeks!  Thanksgiving came and the babies were still with us, we were expecting our baby in 2 weeks and we had ALOT to be thankful for...we were also a little overwhelmed at the thought of having three babies under two.  The girls in our small group immediately began planning my baby shower...which was AMAZING:)  My favorite part was the recreation of the game I played on The Price is Right...at the end I won the Vera Bradley diaper bag of my dreams (way better than a pool table;).  It was a beautiful evening I will never forget, a time I had waited for for so long, a celebration of a life on the way, a celebration for OUR baby.  We knew he was a boy and he was due December 8th, we didn't get to meet his birthparents, we were told they weren't really concerned about having any contact.  December 8th came and went, it was her first child and she was induced a week later.  I got a phone call from the adoption agency, she decided to keep him.  My sister was with me at the time and I handed her the phone, I had no words, my breath was knocked out of me, I was devastated.  I waited to tell JT after he got home from work.  We were shocked really...in that evening I felt SO sorry for myself.  I remember thinking, how pathetic are we?  Who does this happen to again and again?  Pathetic us.  And this time I had a nursery full of baby boy things to look at every day...perfect.  What I also had was an almost 2 year old baby girl and a 9 month old baby boy.  They needed me and the Lord grew my strength and restored my joy once again.  They made healing so much easier...it's hard to keep the tears coming when you're potty training, playing, reading, rocking, and just plain busy with babies:)  Again, healing was quick for JT because he was hardened and guarded after our previous heartbreak.  He wasn't vulnerable like I was.  To complete the crazy story, I'll tell you that 2 days after that call, we got another call.  It was time for the birthmom to leave the hospital with the baby and her boyfriend had disappeared, she had no carseat, no ride home, and nothing for the baby when she got home.  She called the agency and changed her mind again.  So I called my mom to come stay with the kids and off we went to the hopital to pick up our baby...a rollercoaster of emotions.  We had a long drive and alot to process...we're having a baby!  No we're not.  We having a baby again and on our way to get him!  All of this in 48 hours...needless to say we got a call during our drive and turned around to drive back home.  I'll spare you the details but I will tell you I didn't shed a tear.  At this point I think I could have laughed, but my heart ached for the baby whose life was hanging in the balance.  Here was this young little couple speeding to the hospital to get him, and then there were these relatives berating his birthmom in the hospital for giving her child to a white couple.  He was so close to a different future and that was a hard truth...I tried not to think about it.  I do know he ended up in foster care, maybe he has been adopted by a sweet little couple who waited and waited for him.  I'll choose to believe that.
We were blessed to celebrate Sissy's 2nd birthday with her later in the month and we weren't holding our new baby that Christmas but we WERE holding our Stinkerman and Princess.  What a gift to have them...it was our first Christmas with children in our home and it was wonderful.  It brought new meaning to the season and as time went on we were growing more and more attached to our sweet babies.  By Christmas, they had been with us for 5 months, DCS was still working to get them out of state and in the home of relatives but they were running into some major bumps in the road.  Again, that was okay with us.  While we were supportive of L, we were also in love with our babies and considered our time with them a gift.
When we became foster parents, people would say things like "I could never do that, how can you give them back?  I couldn't handle it emotionally, I'd get too attached".  And our response was always something like: Well, it will be hard when they leave, it'll probably break our hearts.  But it's not about us, and whatever we have to go through for the sake of loving them is worth it (which is very easy to say when you haven't experienced it yet).  Though I know that there are, I can't imagine a foster parent who doesn't get attached.  It's hard for me to fathom bringing a hurting child into a home where there is no bonding or attachment.  These kids need all the love in the world and depriving them so we don't get hurt ourselves is a tragedy.  Okay...I'll get off my soapbox that barely has anything to do with my blog.  Thanks for reading:)  Until next Monday...
Love,
Crazy Mama Crook

Monday, September 5, 2011

And Here Comes Stinkerman!

On July 23rd, 2009, we loaded our sweet baby girl in the car and drove to the hospital to pick up her little brother.  He's 4 months old and he's in the hospital because the humurus in his left arm has been snapped and during a full body x-ray they found an old healing break in his left tibia.  We knew that becoming instaparents of two hurting children would be hard...we didn't know how hard.  I remember seeing his teeny broken body for the first time.  He was wearing a diaper and a cast, he weighed 11 lbs.  I didn't know how to hold him, he made me nervous.  The nurses weren't really much help, they filled us in on how much they spoiled him but they told us very little about how to care for him.  He cried when we put him in his carseat, he cried the whole ride home.  When we got home we fed him...that's what you do when babies cry, right?  He kept crying, we kept feeding, he was throwing up everywhere.  While we were trying to cope with this, there was a knock at the door.  It was a guy selling security systems.  Has someone been casing our house?  Our life?  Remember when I said that I had a huge fear that a parent of one of our children was going to find me and kill me?  Well here was this guy, showing up the very day we bring the baby home, coming to ease my fears.  We invited him in, we signed a 3 year contract, and the security system was installed that evening.  Wow...yeah I know.  So...in all this chaos, the baby definitely threw up all over us, the couch, the carpet, and the sales guy.  I'm ashamed to say this but I believe he was the one that suggested we might be overfeeding him.  We googled it and fixed one of our many new parent oopsies:)  He was a baby who cried almost constantly.  Just like his sister, he was traumatized, taken from his mother, and found himself in the home of complete strangers...combine that with broken bones, severe acid reflux, and an opposition to sleep and you have a new parent's nightmare.  We had no idea what to do with a healthy baby, we were simply not qualified to care for a baby diagnosed failure to thrive.  But a wise friend had just told us a few months earlier that "God doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies the called".  That was a powerful statement and we believed it. 
My heart was broken for this baby.  He was at an age where he wanted to start scooting and rolling over.  But he couldn't move because of the huge cast on his arm which was wrapped against his body.  He reeked of sour milk because he spit up constantly (even when he wasn't overfed;), as in 70% of every bottle, and it soaked into his cast wrap.  The material used to cast and wrap him had irritated and cut the skin on his chest, armpit, and back.  He had a horrible bloody rash under his chin from the continuous flow of acid in his spit up.  He was near impossible to bathe.  He slept between 3 and 4 hours a night and napping was not on his favorite things list.  He cried SO much.  I was advised to get a baby bjourn and I was able to borrow one from a friend.  I owe my sanity to that beautiful contraption.  I would have him strapped to my body for months to come and that was perfectly fine with me.  It was a huge comfort to him and he liked to fall asleep in it...bonus:)  I dealt with alot of guilt because I didn't have time to love on his sister the way I wanted to.  He took almost every bit of my time, attention, and energy.  It was better when JT got home from work, but I spent alot of time crying during the day.  I was a new parent of two, I slept between 3 and 4 hours a night right along with our new roommate, eating didn't cross my mind all day, my heart was broken by the state of the baby, I was just plain overwhelmed by it all...as was my husband.  I'm a naturally scrawny person, but I got down to 94 lbs in that first week or two.  I ran on adrenaline and Jesus.  This wasn't quite how I pictured entering into motherhood, but the pictures God paints for me are much more beautiful than the ones I scribble:)  God was molding my character and growing my strength.  He was forcing us to live out our "it's not about us" motto:)  
In our first week as this unconventional family of four, I called the ortheopedic medical facility who took care of Bubby and cried to the lady on the phone about what I was experiencing with his sour smelling, skin irritating cast.  She told me to come in and a man named Gilbert would help us out.  I'm pretty sure Gilbert was an angel...he took our tiny baby and cut all the material off his body.  The sight of his arm literally made me nautious.  He talked to the baby through the entire process and then rewrapped his arm with a gentleness I can't describe.  He took a big soft wrap and secured his arm against his body.  The wrap velcroed together at the desired level of tightness and when it got dirty, we could take it off and wash it, he gave us two of them.  I cried...sobbed actually, almost the entire time Gilbert worked on him.  There were some interns watching him work and they kept asking me if I was okay.  I think JT tried to blame it on lack of sleep, and that may have been partly it. But the other part was the ache in my heart for what this baby has been through combined with immense gratitude for the love and compassion this stranger was showing our precious baby.  Bubby didn't cry at all...I know Gilbert was an angel;)
Despite the chaos and craziness that now consumed our lives, despite all of the difficulties, I was more in love with life than I had ever been.  Just before we started training to become foster parents, I had read a book titled 'Seizing your Divine Moment' by Erwin Raphael McManus.  In his book he explains that Christians generally have the good and evil part of life down...as in we know the difference and do our best to live a good life.  What Christians really struggle with is the doing something or doing nothing part.  Living a good but passive and comfortable life is our specialty.  He poses the question "What can I do today to make a difference in the world?"  That struck a chord with us and is definitely something God used to inspire us to become foster parents.  So for the first time in my life, I really felt like I was doing something, putting my heart out there, giving of myself, and loving in a way I'd never loved before.  It felt amazing and at this point I had no idea what God had in store for us.  His ways are perfect. 
Our teeny broken bundle of baby boy is now a happy, healthy, hyper, ROTTEN 2 1/2 year old who just started potty training and is doing great!  His little body is perfect and he's developmentally exactly where he should be!  We are full of hope and peace that he will soon be forever ours...God is SO good!  Until next Monday...
Love,
Crazy Mama Crook