I'm so glad you're here! This is our story. God has lead us to adoption to build our family and here you will find my real and raw experiences with joys and triumphs as well as struggles and sadness. I hope you're encouraged by our story of God's faithfulness and His love for us!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

It's official!!!!

Dora's a Hart!!!! After we said our good byes and we were pulling down the decorations I started bawling and I haven't stopped! Looking at pictures of my beloved child and thinking about how far we've come and that this day finally arrived is unbelievable! When I saw Kerry today memories of heart break and devastation came flooding back. Seeing her took me back to the day we got the call that they didn't terminate rights the first time and that we were now in a risky situation. I was at Bible Study with Julie and stepped out the take the call but never returned until the very end. I couldn't face everyone with the bad news so I went to the nursery and my mom was there. My mom didn't usually come to watch the kids, but she was in the nursery with Kerry and the kids. That moment was one of the worst moments of my life. As I handed Dora off to someone and I leaned against the wall, sliding down into heart broken sobs thinking that this child that I barely knew but loved dearly would be leaving us. How far have we come? I'm still sobbing, but this time with joy and awe that God has brought us through to completion! His faithfulness throughout the journey is unmeasured and He has taught me so much! This was His plan all along. He made me walk through some trials that I wasn't sure I'd make it through, but He knew His grace was greater than my needs and fears. How great and good is my God?

Dora's joy this morning was pouring over. I don't think she has any understanding of the significance of this day but she knew she was the center of attention and that she is going to be with us forever and ever and ever! It was so cute when the judge was talking and she said Dora's name Dora shouted that's me! And she kept saying it was her birthday! Silly girl! See what I mean? No real understanding of how precious this day was for us! The hearing itself isn't that long or dramatic but it means EVERYTHING to me!

We had a party afterwards with family and the friends who came to the courthouse. By then I was so spent. I was SO tired! I think I don't even realize when I'm holding my emotions in anymore but exhaustion definitely is a sign! It's become second nature as I live with infertility. Very few see my real emotions about it because babies are such a blessing and I never want to put a damper on other people's joy when they're expecting. So, I've learned to steal myself and wait until a more appropriate time to express my grief (and yes... it is getting better as I see God building my family in the way that He has always intended.). Poor Bry. He bears the brunt of it and today was no exception. As I watched all my family leave and I said good bye to my brother I started becoming weepy. I thought it was because I was tired and then it hit me... Of course I'm weepy! God has answered my prayers and the joy in my heart is inexpressible so it escaped as weepy tears!

I just want to thank you all for your love, prayer and support! I honestly mean that we couldn't have made it through the past 15 months without you all! I desperately needed your love and encouragement. I needed you to listen. I needed a shoulder to cry on and you all have been that for me! The journey is definitely not over. It has just begun! Thank you all from the bottom of my heart!
Here she is with her snow globe! It's become our tradition to give our children a snow globe on their adoption day! Dora got a "Hey Diddle Diddle" globe and she loves it! 

Monday, June 25, 2012

Nearing the End!!!!

So those of you who are on Facebook know that we've been in Pleasant Hill the past two work days reading Dora's file. AND, I know many of you are probably curious what we found in that file! Most of it had nothing to do with Dora and nothing to do with us. It was mostly to do with bio mom so there's not a lot to tell. I'm not going to publicly share the details of some one else's story. But, what I will say is that while the file didn't have a ton of new information it did fill in some of the blanks. I found birthdays, full names, addresses, phone numbers, information on the older siblings and grandparents, even a cousin. I found out the reasons that Dora was removed and where she lived when she lived with her bio mom. Who her first foster family was and what they were like. I found out that the bio grandparents did want to bring Dora home but that it really was just beyond them at their age to take on another child. Period. Let alone a toddler. I'm glad that we have that information for when she's older as she realizes that they took her older brother and sister but not her. I feel like over all I just got a better picture of who her biological family is and where she came from. In some ways it makes me want to be more cautious as we pursue a relationship with the bio mom because now I know her method of operation and it's a little scary. But, I can do cautious and scary. There's nothing in there that indicates Dora or any of us are in danger at all. But there's a lot to indicate that the bio mom loves her daughter. She's just not capable of being a mom right now.

Since there wasn't a ton of new information, the part that got me riled the most was when that one social worker... do you remember her? the one who was pitting bio mom and me against each other, belittling me, taking Dora kicking and screaming from me and refusing to give her back? etc. etc. etc... wrote reports for our visits with her supervising. I read five + months of reports of truthful facts that showed the relationship between Dora and her bio mom and the relationship between bio mom and me and the relationship between me and Dora. Then, we get to the reports written by this woman who made me tremble in my boots because she was the one writing the reports and she was obviously pro mom and all of a sudden I'm refusing to hand Dora over. I'm not listening to the SW's directions. I'm hoarding Dora's attention away from bio mom. I'm pushing my sweet Cinderella out of the way in my frantic attempt to get Dora away from bio mom AND ignoring her when she cries and telling her harshly to stop crying etc etc etc. It was awful and there was a TON of it! All the other reports were a paragraph, maybe two. These would go on for pages! I remember those visits very clearly because there may have never been more miserable moments in my life. I do remember being torn between my children and choosing Dora because I was going to be handing her over in seconds and I'd have an hour to comfort Cinderella. She was crying in the first place because they were taking her sister away!  This SW thought that she knew everything about this situation before she even met us and pegged me as needy, fearful and possessive instead of concerned, falling in love with this child, interested the process and how things were going. We went from having a SW that we got along with well, who was in our court, who was supportive and understanding to this woman who wouldn't even let me talk to bio mom and created tension between us that I never wanted there. She never understood who I was and what my desire in the situation was. I remember thinking that I should call Dora's real SW and ask her if she could supervise instead but I never had peace about causing problems so I just prayed about it and next thing I knew she was no longer supervising our visits and our regular SW was back to supervising. We never had anything but positive visits with any other SW and the reports definitely reflected that. Although none of this made it into the actual court report it was really tough to read what she really thought of me. I just wish that during one of those visits where she was belittling me that she would have actually listened to what I had to say!  Funny thing is... even her reports told conflicting stories. It might as well have been one of bio mom's stories for all the exaggerations and contradictions it contained! Oh well. I'm thankful that God went before us in the matter and that obviously it had no affect on the things to come. I'm still kind of in awe that they didn't reunify. The first termination of rights hearing when they DID NOT terminate she didn't meet any of her goals. The second termination of rights hearing when they DID terminate she met all of her goals but one and she was close to meeting it! Again, just in awe of how God has gone before us in this whole situation!

So, here we are. Done with the file. We won't be going back. I'm clear on the story (I should be. I read it and re-read it and re-read it with every report!) and I just need to type it out clearly so that we can remember it down the road. Tomorrow is our post-placement visit and I think that next we schedule our court date for finalization! So close!!!! What a journey this has been so far and I know that it is just beginning. The day we sign the papers in court is the beginning of our future together where we are in full control without having to check in with anyone or telling anyone where we're going! What a blessed day that will be!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Finalization Here We Come!

Woohoo!!! The phone call that I have been waiting for for over a year has finally come! We've known for about a month that we'd be moving forward for sure to adopt Dora, but we've been waiting for this meeting to take place where we'll get to finally sign papers and see her file. I'm excited to sign the papers, but I'm REALLY excited about seeing that file. We'll only get to see it one day. In the office. That's it. (Although I've heard that it's possible to come back and see it again before we finalize if we don't get through it all) And this file holds all the information about her life prior to joining our family at 20 months. It has why she was removed each time she was removed. It has bio mom's story. I'm really hoping that through this file we'll come to understand our daughter better than we do now. It's so easy to forget that she has a past before us. We never knew her as a baby. We don't know what was done to her as a baby. There have been so many unknowns that it will just be so great to hopefully get a better understanding of her life! So, that meeting is on June 22nd!!!

After that meeting the social worker will come out to our house the following Tuesday for our post placement visit and then there's some more paperwork and she has to file it down at the court. And then we'll schedule our court date for something like two weeks out from there. So we'll probably be finalizing the end of July sometime! The girls and I are joining my parents on a trip back East for my cousin's wedding and so we really need it to be finalized by then. It's a mess trying to get approval to go out of state (even just to Nevada!!!) and neither one of us really wants to deal with it so she has a deadline that I know she'll keep.

As we get closer to finalization I'm getting the question of what's next for the Harts more frequently. Oh, if only I knew! Our hands are tied for so many reasons right now that we just can't move forward at this point for number three. Don't get me wrong. I'm itching for number three and if number three was dropped in our laps I would be so excited! But we've had this goal of Bryan getting a full time job so that I can stay home full time for over two years now and we're getting so close to that goal! I don't know what's going to happen in the future. All I know is that we've been stuck here finishing up Dora's adoption and we haven't been able to go where a job could take us. Once Dora's adoption is final and Bryan's done his year as Team Leader we'll finally be free of everything holding us down and we can truly try to meet that goal. It could mean staying put. It could mean being relocated. We just don't know at this point. Our family is here. We have a great church family and we'd be happy to stay, but we'd also welcome the adventure of moving somewhere new too. God has time to direct our hearts and show us the next step, but I do know for sure that as difficult as it may be for me we won't be pursuing adopting a third until we have this figured out. If a child was to be dropped in our laps... that would be a different story all together...

What route do we think we'll go for number three? All I can say is that neither time we've adopted has it been the way that we thought it would happen. With Cinderella we were pursuing foster care. With Dora there was NO WAY we were going to pursue foster care after having such an amazing experience with Cinderella AND we were already well on our way to getting started in the process of adopting from Ethiopia! Both girls came to us when we were least expecting it. So, I don't know! I have a strong desire to have another infant straight from the hospital, but my heart aches for the orphans of Africa. So I'm conflicted right now. But, I figure we still have time for God to direct my heart and show me the direction of my next child. He has been faithful to move my heart to His will each time so far and I know He will be faithful to continue to do that! AND all other things aside there is a huge financial barrier that will have to be addressed at some point. We're hoping to be able to chip away at it this coming year, but we need another part time job to be able to do that. So God is going to have to provide in that area as well. BUT, it struck me one day that it's God's desire for His people to take care of the orphans and the widows. It's all over Scripture! So, when one steps out in faith to do what He has asked us to do He will be faithful to provide the money to do so. I have watched over and over again how God makes money come from no where and where MAJOR financial hurdles were met in a matter of days. God is so much bigger than our bank accounts and it's so important for me to not underestimate Him in this area of my life! It scares me to no end to think that I know we have several more children ahead and having no idea where each down payment on a house is going to come from - because each adoption is at least that. With the exception of fost adopt which in turn pays you. Not a lot, but enough to help with the impending costs of raising any child with special needs.

So, there's a lot of question marks in our future but I have a feeling that God's just not done with me yet! He's showing me more and more who I really am and that I don't have everything as together as I think I do. He's reforming my parenting once again as I struggle to balance my philosophy on parenting with a philosophy of parenting that is uncomfortable for me, but effective for Dora. And He's causing me to grow in patience and compassion. All good stuff here folks. Tough, but good and I'm excited to see where God takes us in this journey of faith that we're living!!!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Parenting My Precious Porcupine

when I think we have it all together and that life is going 
smoothly we hit a bump in the road and I realize how foolish 
I was to think that 30 months (10 in utero and 20 outside) of abuse 
and neglect can be fixed in a short 13 months. We had a little, ok MAJOR, fit today and 
I can't figure it out.  Please just pray for me. Us really. 
The fit started over a sticker. Yes, you did read that right. 
A sticker. 
And ended over a half an hour later with a 
broken hearted cry from a child who seemed to be having insecurities 
about being left. I don't know how to connect those dots, 
but it is what it is and when she's freaking out that I'm leaving her
 while she naps it calls for special attention. So as I crawled into bed with her thinking I'll stay there the whole nap if I need to she slipped her 
little arm around my neck and drew my head to her chest. I was reminded that sometimes parenting our little porcupine just needs to go against my grain. 
I feel like I have to relearn all my instincts and do the opposite 
of what I want to do. To me her behavior was manipulative and was trying to avoid 
nap, but her broken hearted little cry told me 
otherwise and I had to stay. 
(In the end she agreed to snuggle Daddy who was already sleeping instead of Mommy because Little Cinderella also needed to take a nap.) 
To me holding her when she's throwing a fit feels 
like it's reinforcing the behavior, but sometimes that's 
what I have to do. When she's flipping out over a sticker 
(which all I wanted to do in the situation was to stop and do a simple redo and teach her to just tell me what happened instead of throw a fit and 
I'd be happy to turn around so that she could pick up her sticker...) 
sometimes that's not the moment to teach. Sometimes that's 
the moment to give her her sticker and do the redo at home later when she's 
not so emotionally invested in the situation. She doesn't hear me in the moment. 
I'm learning. I'm failing. I'm succeeding. I'm fighting
I'm constantly reminded that I am not equipped to handle this on my own 
and I'm foolish if I think I am. I'm having to learn compassion. I've never been a very compassionate person. I've always had more of the 
"suck it up and deal with it" mentality. That's how I am to myself 
and that definitely comes out in my parenting. 
Only it doesn't work with Dora so I'm having to learn compassion and self-control. AND I'm struggling because I don't know 
what she's comprehending when I try to teach her how to behave! 
She either doesn't understand or tunes me out. I'll never now which, 
but I'm leaning towards that she doesn't understand. She's not the high, 
logical thinker of my oldest. Cinderella was made for me. 
We are like chocolate and peanut butter
Perfectly suited for each other! It's no wonder we never have any of these problems! We communicate so perfectly and understand each other as well 
as any two people could. Dora and I are like oil and water
But she needs me. I think she needs me more than 
I even realize and she needs us to mix so by the grace of God
 I'm going to learn to be water! If He can turn water into wine than 
He can turn my oil into water! I'm going to learn to love her the way she needs to
 be loved. I just don't know what that means all the time. 
So, if you think of it please add me to your prayer list once again 
because this is a battle that could quite possibly take me my entire life to win. 
BUT, my moments of success give me hope that I can be the mother that 
this precious child needs. 
She wouldn't be here in my home if that wasn't true. 
God gave her to me so He must trust me enough to treasure her and parent her and He must know that my oily nature needs some refining too! 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Mother's Day, Infertility and Pet Adoptions

Mother's Day. I remember all too well the years where Mother's Day was a day that I dreaded more than any other day in the year. It was just a cruel reminder that we didn't have what I most desperately wanted. A child. I'd walk into church on Mother's Day morning with my game face on wishing I was anywhere but there and suck it up as all the mother's and expectant mothers were recognized. A day of agony. Gut wrenching, stick a knife and twist it in my heart AGONY! I'm not going to say that I'm completely over all my infertility issues. I've worked through most of them and most of the time I don't even remember. I have two children now and I'm not looking back wishing they had come to me differently. But I do remember the agony, the tears, the sorrow, the innumerable times that I sat there willing my tears to stay put. Biting my lip. Doing anything I could to distract myself from the welling up inside. Sometimes I couldn't hold them back and I would find an excuse to excuse myself and I was thankful for those discerning enough to see my pain and reach out to me. If you're reading this and you're that person who is dreading tomorrow. I've been there. I know your pain and all I can say is that God is my healer. Turn to Him in your pain and He will make you whole again. He can turn your sorrow into joy and give you the desires of your heart if you earnestly seek him first. He has for me! He has turned my empty home into one that is full and thriving. He has seen me through my pain and healed my heart and He can do that for you. He had a different plan for me. One that most of the world sees as second best but that I see simply as God's best for me. My life is a journey of faith. It's one where the plans are always changing until that child comes home. It's one full of raw emotion and joy. I love this verse...

"He gives the childless woman a family, making her a happy mother. Praise the Lord!" Ps. 113:9

He has given me the desire of my heart and not only that, He's changed my heart. I started this journey of adoption on a selfish path. I wanted a child. I see it differently now. I still want children. But now I see the children as needing to be rescued and needing a family more than I see myself. My heart for family-less children if far bigger than my ability to parent them all! God cares about the millions of orphans worldwide that are waiting for families or that simply will never have families for one reason or another. 

I've been bugged recently when I see advertisements for PET ADOPTIONS. I can't help but think of the hundreds of thousands, millions even spent taking care of a finding homes for animals in our country. ANIMALS! While we're out there fighting for the animals and saving the animals, who's fighting for the millions of children who don't have families. Who's saving THEM? Saving them doesn't mean the foster care system, group homes or orphanages. It means forever families! Let me tell you that the need FAR EXCEEDS the people who are willing! So, are you going to fight for an animal or a human being who needs a family? Are you going to put your money towards saving an animal or a human? There's plenty of organizations like Show Hope where you can give monthly to help other people adopt if you don't feel called to adopt. There's Compassion International where you can give to FEED A CHILD! Seriously, people. Priorities! CHILDREN come first! We are the ones created in the image of God Himself. We are the ones that He loved enough to send His son to die for. He loves animals. They are His creation too, but it really irks me that people can find money to give to ASPCA but they can't help a fellow human being! 

Ok.. so that's my soap box for the day. This weekend if you are suffering from infertility I'm praying for you. I know what it's like to suffer in silence. Hang in there and see if you can find it in your heart to adopt. If the only thing stopping you is finances. Don't let that stop you. I've watched God provide miraculously for many families who are seeking to adopt. Why wouldn't He? He talks about taking care of the orphans some 40 times in the Bible! He commanded us to take care of the orphans and widows.  so why wouldn't He provide the way? Plus, adopting from foster care is free anyway. There's always hope in the future. I'm living proof of a life redeemed. I am joyful this weekend because of the children whom God has blessed me with through other women. I am joyful because He heard my cry and He answered! 

looking forward to the day when I can freely post pictures!

Definitely remembering the woman who made me a mommy this weekend! 
Love you Rachel!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

It's Official!

Well folks, the day that we've been waiting for for thirteen months is upon us! We got the long awaited call that NO APPEAL WAS FILED!!!! Praise the Lord who is the giver of every good gift! It sounds like it could still be a couple months till it's final final, but knowing that the mom is completely out of the picture and that we ARE ADOPTING her is AMAZING! 

God is a God who is faithful to His promises! We have been clinging to them for years and He has yet to fail us. Closed doors? Yes. Answered our prayers above and beyond what we prayed for? Yes! We have experienced disappointment and hurt along the way, but we have also seen how God has used all of that to grow our character and to guide us to the best pathway for our life. We certainly aren't disappointed or let down in any way! God continues to cause our desires to come into line with His Will and to ultimately grant us the desires of our hearts! 

"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!" Matthew 7:7-11

 "This is the confidence which we have before Him, that,if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us." 1 John 5:14

If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. John 15:7

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A Broken Heart

I've had this post mulling around inside for a while now. I think I just realized this moment that we're past the officially waiting period for her to appeal. YAY! But, we won't know until next week because the social worker will give her a five day grace period before moving forward with the paperwork on our end. I think the fact that I didn't even remember that Monday was the day is just a testimony to the peace that God has given me in this situation. I'm so thankful that His peace came so many months ago. It is such a relief to just rest in God's plan for our family and live in confidence instead of fear!

Last week we had our last official visit with Dora's bio mom. It had been a couple months since we had seen her and all in all it was a good visit. I had instigated the visit for her bio mom's sake because I know that this time is the toughest. She's grieving and I felt that she really needed to see her again in order to help her let go. BUT, I'm so thankful that I'll never have to send Dora into a room with her alone EVER AGAIN! Dora didn't look like she wanted to go so I just pulled her aside and told her I loved her and that I would be waiting for her to get back and then she went happily (and came back running and yelling "MAMA!!!"). I just love that little girl! Dora has been in this cling to Mommy stage where she is grumpy when I leave her (even if I leave her with Daddy and Cinderella at home) and she tries to monopolize me so that Cinderella can't get to me. It's funny to watch her panic when Cinderella and I are snuggling and try to push in but in the end BOTH my children need one on one Mommy time so I do have to set aside time where I just spend time with Cinderella. I can't say that I'm complaining too much. It is tiring but it's so good at the same time. She hasn't liked me that much in the last year. I've been the one doing most of the teaching, correcting and discipling so I guess I'm the mean one. I think her rejection at home has been what has made me really struggle with her. I'm hurt by her. She's hurt by me and it's just a vicious cycle. So, since I recognize the root of the problem now I can do something about it! I've changed the way that I approach her with discipline and correction and have spent more and more time loving on her, building her up and praying for her. I haven't felt that "I'm gonna lose it any minute feeling" in a long time and I just really have to attribute that to a renewed dependence on God. He is faithful to help us when we call out to Him and the climate of our home reflects that!

I was talking with a few other adoptive moms the other day and we were talking about the state in which our children come to us. They all come from different backgrounds and situations but all of them have one thing in common - They come with history that started before they became part of our families. All of them have experienced loss. Loss of biological relationships. Loss of caregivers. Rejection of people they thought they could trust. They all come with broken hearts and we are all eager to jump in thinking we can "fix" them. But, we all know that the only healer of hearts is the Lord Jesus Christ and until He intervenes and gives them wholeness we are only able to treat the symptoms and love them the best that we can. I think we can prepare ahead of time and think we know what to do before they come to us, but when the rubber meets the road none of us know what to do. We don't know the experiences that they faced before coming to our home and we don't know how to make them feel loved and secure. It's so different than the situation with Cinderella. We got all that bonding time when she was an infant. She learned she could trust me and rely on me before she knew anything else. She wasn't born flesh of my flesh but I forget that most of the time because she's mine in every sense of the word. We're confident in our love and adoration of each other. She's my beloved child. My gift from God! Dora is all those things too but even a year later we're still learning about each other and developing a trust relationship. I make the mistake of thinking that since a year has passed we're past the worst of it. She must be secure and confident in our home but you know what? The theme of her life recently as been "don't leave me!" Whether I'm leaving the room, the house, to go to work, walking down the stairs, putting her down for nap or even in her dreams I believe she's afraid I'm going to leave her. As she screams "No, no! Mama! Mama!" in the midst of night terrors. Breaks your heart. Doesn't it? It breaks mine! So, even a year later and her only being 20 months when she came to us there is still an underlying sense of fear of abandonment in her heart. TIme to hug her more. Love on her more. Listen to her needs more. Be more compassionate. More patient... the list goes on and on. Her heart is still broken and I can't fix it. I believe in time her heart will heal. I pray that she will come to understand who Jesus is and His awesome love for her and that she will experience true wholeness and peace through Him! I have hope that the future is bright and that God will give me the tools that I need to parent her and love her as she needs to be loved.

Why am I telling all of you this? Because I feel like I didn't have a clue what I was doing when I started out. I've made a ton of mistakes and I thought that we had it all together. I want you to see all the aspects of adoption so that you can understand people in this situation better. You'll know better what life is like inside adoption and if you even find yourself in our situation (which my prayer is that at least 1 of you will be spurred to adopt because of our family) that you'll be able to go into it with realistic expectations. It's wonderful and watching Dora grow in our home has been the most rewarding experience of my life! But now I know I'll be more prepared when we bring the next non-infant into our home. I didn't believe people when they told me that even at 20 months they'd come with baggage. I do now and I also have seen the growth in her confidence, her trust and her security in our home. I CAN'T WAIT to finalize her adoption in court! What a victory that will be for all of us and she'll be able to see that she's staying with us forever and always! Praise be to God who has and continues to see us through to completion!

A Grieving Mother

I'm trying so hard to work through the emotions that I'm feeling and somehow when I write it I can get it out better than telling it. I talked to Dora's bio mom today. I felt like people didn't really understand why I wasn't rejoicing the day of the termination. It was a relief to me but my heart was/is breaking at the same time. It weighs so heavy on my heart that my gain comes at a great loss for my children's biological mothers. Dora's mom didn't even get to choose. I mean, I guess she did in a way because she chose to do too little too late. I think that deep down she did it because she knew Dora is where she needs to be, but as she's processing her grief I'm processing my own grief for her. She expressed to me some of how she's feeling and was honest with me about some things in their past that were just plain hard for me to hear. That story isn't mine to tell so publicly but it hit my heart the things that my child has experienced before coming to me and I feel such sorrow and regret for some of the choices that were made that will affect my child for the rest of her life. I don't think she had any idea how hard that conversation was for me to have with her, but I hope that what she felt from me was love and compassion - not judgement. She brought it up. She lead the conversation but I was able to ask a question that I needed to know the answer to and I'm so thankful that she was comfortable enough to answer. I couldn't have asked the question if she hadn't first brought it up. There are so many more questions that I have and I am so very thankful that we are able to have a relationship where we can talk about these things. But let's be honest. Having her in our life is hard ALL the time. Every text message or phone call my heart races and I'm super uncomfortable. SO different from our experience with Cinderella's bio family. God is so gracious though. In the moment He gives me the grace and compassion to love her and that is the very reason that she isn't fighting. I really hope that I can get to a place where I feel comfortable with Dora having a relationship with her. Right now I allow it because I believe it's in both of their best interests to allow them to have a relationship. So please don't try to talk me out of it. It's hardest on me but it's a choice I made four years ago and I WILL follow through with the promises I made to her.

I think it's so uncomfortable because she still views herself as mom. She told me that she didn't want us to change Dora's name because she thinks she still has a say. I told her that we won't be changing her name because it was a decision we made a year ago to keep it. Well... the truth is we will still call her Dora but legally her name will be changed. I know right now is the hardest time and that it will get easier for her. So, I'll just try to be as supportive and patient as possible until she let's go. I guess if she doesn't than I'll have to help her let go and put up firmer boundaries. But, I know it's still fresh for her and I sense she has more to say.

I'm excited that within a few months Dora will be ours and I'll feel fully in control. It has been an amazing journey and I'm excited for this chapter to be complete. In all honesty, I'm ready for baby #3. I've had a baby on my heart for a few weeks now and that usually leads to direction of some sort... I still feel like there is more under the layers that I just can't share. At least in prayer I can fully share the things on my heart. Just praying for peace in my spirit and wisdom and direction in dealing with the bio mom. I do love her and want her best. The decisions made in the past stay in the past and I'm excited to see her doing so well! God is good!