Thursday, September 30, 2010

One Sad Day

I thought that we were all doing really good since Sissy had left. I told people (which I still believe) that the Lord was really gracious to us and even though we were still sad, the three of us were moving on.

On this particular day, Ivy and I had had a really good day together. I was home from work and we had cleaned and played. I was sitting on my bed and Ivy came in and said (very a matter of fact) "I don't want you to be my mom." I said, "What?" she said it again....with no emotion. I said," Ivy, why would you say that? I love being your mom and that hurts my feelings." I started to act like I was about to cry to see if she would melt and say she didn't mean it but she still said it. The more we talked, I eventually did start to cry for real. She wasn't saying it in a mean way at all, she was just stating a fact. Finally, I told her to go sit on her bed and think about why she was saying that. She just walked to her room with no emotion, not angry, sad or anything.

Just then Matt called. I started to tell him about it and he wanted to talk to her. She kept saying it to him and then she fell apart and started crying saying," I don't want her to be my mom because I don't want to be adopted. I don't want to be adopted Dad." Let me tell you how scared I was. This was completely out of character. The girl LOVES being adopted. She gets presents on her Gotcha Day and she loves to celebrate it. She wouldn't stop crying so I told Matt that we needed to go. I just sat on the floor with her and hugged and kissed her. At first I tried explaining that she couldn't be adopted because she already was but she kept saying that she didn't want to be adopted over and over. Matt was so scared that he left work and came home and the 2 of us sat on the floor hugging and holding her , finally telling her that she didn't need to be adopted. I was so scared. We were probably on the floor for 45 minutes.

It scared me that all this time she had been carrying around this fear in her little 3 year old mind that she might leave us and be adopted. It broke my heart. I was so worried about her. I began to wonder what else she was thinking and didn't say. Later we explained to her that Sissy was never adopted and when you are you are with our family forever. We think she got it. I watched her more, took more time to explain things to her.

By the way, that night as I laid in bed with her, she told me that she was glad I was her mom. I was continullay praying that the Lord would continue to take care of us. We were getting ready for another bumpy, if not brief ride on this roller coaster of fost adopt. The Lord was getting ready to teach me another lesson....

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

One Chapter Ends

Matt had went to court on a day that we didn't know if much would happen. The ruling had been postponed so many times and so many times we thought Sissy was leaving and then she wasn't. He called me to tell me the news, she was leaving but the grandparents didn't have their home ready to take her so we had to keep her until they were done. We didn't understand it. Why hadn't they been working on that all along? We had had enough. Now we had to keep her and look at her everyday knowing that she was leaving.

I think it being dragged out helped me in wanting a final resolution...whatever it was going to be. We started to tell Ivy a couple of times that she was leaving but she was too young to get it. Finally the day came. I cried as I packed up all of her things. Part of me wanted to keep her up from her nap to spend as much time as I could with her but I decided to give her what she needed and that was a nap. Matt stayed home from work, Hollie came to get Ivy so that she wouldn't be here. I packed up all of her things with her little black baby doll and toys. I wrote a letter to the grandparnets telling them how much we loved her, telling them when she liked to sleep with her baby and what music she listened to as she went to sleep. We had told Ivy that she wouldn't see Sissy again but she was so excited to get to spend the day with Hollie that she barely said goodbye. Matt and I sat alone in the living room, praying together. Asking God to give us comfort and peace, asking Him to take care of Ivy, and praying that He would save Sissy one day and bring her to heaven.

The social worker came and gave us a gospel CD because she knew we were Christians and that we were musical. She kept saying that she was sorry, that she could see this family going back to the system. I told her to let us know if she was ever put in foster care again. Then I handed her over and she left. We went and got Ivy and( I think) we took her swimming. We took a break from foster care to have a care free month or two void of social workers and that kind of responsibility. Going from two kids (and a baby at that) back to one made me feel like I was on vacation. Ivy and I did alot of fun stuff. She was handling Sissy leaving really well (so we thought). I had given her a rag doll that looked like Sissy that she still sleeps with to this day. We named it Sissy babes. Whenever she missed Sissy she could hug her Sissy babes.

Everything was going fine until one day I got a little glimpse into what was in Ivy's pretty little head.....

Sunday, September 26, 2010


I was going to wait a couple of days before I wrote again but I heard Lucy talking away in her crib early this morning and it woke me up. I started to think about this next part of the story and so I needed to come down here and write. I don't like to think about this next part too much and there is alot that I can't explain ( don't miss what I wrote yesterday...I know...writing 2 days in a can't stand it! haha)

We were getting the feeling like we were going to lose Sissy which put Matt and I in the situation where we didn't want to be. The case was getting dragged out and we felt like we were babysitting her. The Judge was giving the grandparents a long time to get things done that he had required. They weren't getting it done in the time that he said but he kept postponing it for them. Then... Matt and I had something MAJOR happen that affected our family. I can't really say anymore than that (and I know I know you hate it when people say this kind of stuff, but remember when I made my blog private and then public and I said things like this would happen to protect people and their feelings? This is one of those times.)

What I can tell you is that something happened that affected me, Matt and Ivy and it leveled me to the ground. Why bring it up? Because I want to focus on how I got through it. When this happened I feel like you can't get anymore to the bottom than where I was. Sad doesn't even begin to explain my feelings. I didn't think I could get out of bed the next day. I was mad that Ivy got hurt, I was mad that something like this would happen in the middle of losing Sissy, I felt betrayed by a number of people, I felt like my family was talked about, I looked at myself and saw that I was not blameless and.... I looked at God.

I wouldn't say that I was mad at God. I am too fearful of Him to be down right mad but I felt really hurt by Him. I couldn't take (or so I thought) any more of what He was dishing out. The small number of people who knew what we were going through had no words for us. I didn't want to wake up but I had to be strong for Ivy and act like I was OK. After I had asked God why He allowed this to happen for the 1,000th time, I finally had to look at reality. There was nothing else to do. I felt like He was saying to me "Kelli, I made my decision and it is not going to change. Now what are you going to do?"

This is why I bring this whole thing up because really when it comes to telling Lucy's story I could easily skip this part. I thought I trusted God ( I still think I did, do whatever) but I always trusted Him when I could understand why He did what He did. I know I couldn't get pregnant because He had wanted me to adopt, I knew Matt lost His job 2x because the Lord had an even better job and He wanted to teach us to trust Him....and Matt and I always strived to trust Him and to honor Him in our trials but this was below the belt in my simple terms, I couldn't see how this situation helped anyone involved.

So what did I do? First, through my heavy tears I told the Lord that I would trust Him. (NOT an easy one for sure) Then I started to think of all the things I thought about God. That He was Sovereign and that He providentially allowed this to happen.

God's Providence- "God continually and sovereignly works in absolutely everything that happens and thus directs all creatures and events to accomplish His purposes."

Did I believe that all of this was true or not? It was easier to believe when you could see why this was for our good .

Romans 8:28 "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose."

But what about when you couldn't see it? I CHOSE to have FAITH in Him.

Matthew 17:20 " He said to them, Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you,, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain,'Move from here to there', and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you."

It also showed me something else. All this time I thought that there was no way that the Lord would take Sissy away and put her right back in the situation she was before. Why would the Lord take her away and put her in a family where she might not hear the gospel, where it was not a safe environment, where grandparents would raise her and she would be without a sister and 2 parents? Why would He give her to us for 9 months and let Ivy love her so much? But now I knew, it was yet another thing that didn't make sense and He was starting to show me that this is what was about to happen.

Friends, we ALL have some sort of belief in God. You believe something about Him. He does what He is going to do, He is who He says He is, He knows what is for our good even before we do. If you don't know Him like this, I urge you to get to know Him. I must say that when I was hurting so bad, I felt His love and faithfulness. He showed me His tender mercies through my hurt. I looked at my loving husband and beautiful daughter that were given to me out of His goodness to me and I know that no matter what happened in the future, it was for my good and He would get me through. He was about to do it again......

Saturday, September 25, 2010

My New Normal

Ok. Sorry I took such a long break. I know there are some faithful readers out there. I had things to do like taking Ivy to Disneyland, work, cleaning...and honestly there are so many parts to this story that it seems a little overwhelming as what to write.

UPDATE: For those of you joining the story late, even though this is Lucy's adoption story, I am starting WAY back to where we became foster parents and showing what we went through and what the Lord taught us. Sissy is the foster daughter that we had the longest. It is NOT Lucy ( I know, it can get confusing) The story left off when I had to start taking Sissy to visits with her birthmom.

At first Sissy's birthmom started to see her pretty consistantly. Also around the same time, the Judge ordered for Matt and I to start letting the grandparents have overnight visits with her every weekend. So that meant on my 2 days off a week, I would drive to Chatsworth (about a half hour away) to let her birthmom visit her, I was also babysitting a boy named Tate on those days so I would bring Tate, Ivy and Sissy to Chatsworth. Do something with Tate and Ivy for an hour and a half then drive home. Then we would drop Sissy off on Friday nights and pick her up on Sundays. The grandparents would come out here to pick her up and they were usually an hour late. All of thses visits ran our lives. We also had social workers come to the house and court appointments. I look back and don't know how we did it all but I was praying so hard that she would be ours. I was trying to do everything by the book so they could not accuse us of anything. They wanted her back so bad that I didn't trust what they would say about us to get her. They questioned me a couple of times about her health and I would try not to get upset. She did get sick alot but it had nothing to do with me. I WANTED to say to them that it was because their daughter had done things while pregnant that made it to where her immune system was shot but what I DID say was OK, I will keep an eye on it and take her to the Dr.

One day while taking Sissy to a visit with her birthmom, her mom brought a friend named Shooter to the visit. She said," this is Jimmy but we call him Shooter". I said," hi Shooter". I think they were high. He kept talking to Ivy and Ivy wasn't having it. I was like...get me outta here! All the time thinking that this was going to be Sissy's environment if she left our home. This was a world I never hung around as a kid. It actually made me thankful to the Lord in the sense that I saw what I was spared from as a kid, what Matt had been spared from, what Ivy had been spared from. I never hung around people like this as a kid and I couldn't imagine it happening.

Sissy's birthmom was not allowed to see her unsupervised but no one was checking during the weekends to make sure that she was staying away. One day while waiting for court she let it slip that she had seen her. What a contrast to go from our home during the week and then their house on weekends.

As the months went by it got harder and harder to give her up. I quit doing it. As Matt would hand her over to her grandpa, she would reach for Matt and try to jump back in his arms. No thank you. I couldn't see it anymore. She was starting to get who we were and it was going to get harder. The Lord started to use that so that we were both ready for something to happen. We thought we were going to lose her right before Christmas, I had all of her things packed but the Judge kept her here. It gave us a little hope. Something had to be done soon.

Something was done soon. Something I thought would never happen. The Lord really wouldn't do it would He? But before that would happen we would experience even more hardache.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Ivy's Pumpkin

Last night Matt called me at church and told me that I needed to call home. When I called he said that Ivy had fallen outside and got really banged up and that she needed to talk to me. When she got on the phone she said, "MOM! I fell and dad did NOT take good care of me. He didn't do what you would do and you need to come home right now and help me!!!" Actually, he probably did MORE than what I would have done but my baby needed me so when I was done singing, I stopped by Trader Joe's and got my baby a pumpkin because she has been begging me for one and I rushed home to give her some TLC that only a Mama can give.

Today she begged me to take pictures of her with her pumpkin. Lucy got a mini one but she could care less if she has a picture or not. Here is some photos from our mini photo shoot.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Meeting Ummm....Her

I want to be careful how I say this. I want to be honest and tell the story like it was exposing my wrong thinking and what I really thought (and what you would have thought to) I wasn't going to post today since it is my birthday and I was going to enjoy my girls but the Lord brought to my mind a conversation I had after meeting Sissy's birthmom that I should share. Here is complete honesty.

I had never been to the DCFS office before. I had to drive a half hour to get there and I knew that I wasn't going to go alone for the first time. I had told Wendy that if Matt wasn't able to go that she WAS going with me and she had no choice in the matter. Turns out that Matt wanted to meet her to so we went together. I knew that Sissy's birthmom was getting pressure from her parents to have these visits. I think that at this time they were draggin their feet trying to adopt her and they thought they could get their daughter to try to do the right thing. The social worker had some papers that she needed the birthmom to have so she gave it to Matt to give to her. We prayed before we went in that the Lord would give us wisdom on how we should be and get us through it.

They brought us into a private room where there was a "man" sitting there. Matt and I looked at "him" and was looking at each other like "what are we doing here"? Then the social worker intoduced us to her. She was dressed like a man, had her hair buzzed like a man, I saw her tatoos and scars from cutting herself. We knew she was a lesbian but had no idea. Matt was so stunned he handed me the papers to hand to her. I introduced myself and tried to put her at ease. She definately looked at us as the enemy. Then came the hardest part of all....I had to hand Sissy over to her and leave her there. I smiled and tried to get to the car as fast as I could before I started crying.

So that is who Sissy had been taken from? That is who she had been living on the streets with when she would get in a fight and be taken from her grandparents? I had only had her for a short time and I loved her already. YUCK! At that time, I knew for sure that we would get to keep her because there was NO WAY that the Lord would want her with THAT when she could have us. (OK..I had some growing to do.)

A while after that first visit, I had talked to Ivy's birthmom. The Lord (again) used that conversation. I was still pretty disgusted and she told me of a girl she knew that was just like that. Let me tell you how much I love Ivy's birthmom, I have a supernatural love for her. Her simple coversation reminded me that without any of these women I would not be a mom. Sissy's birthmom needed to know Jesus, she needed my love and prayers and even though it was going to be a challenge, I am not going to lie, something is a little "off" with her, I know that I was put in her path to pray for that whole family. It became easier to see what I could do for them to show them Jesus Christ, to take care of Sissy, BEG the Lord that she would still be ours. I prayed that I would give her the love that she needed and if it all ended in heart break then I had the Lord to take care of me.

I also thought of all the LOST people that I would encounter at the DCFS office. I hated going there and I would make many trips but I also became extremely thankful to the Lord for saving me. Without Him that could be me. I sure saw the ugliness of the world and sin in that place.

Let me end by saying this. Please don't think that I am this super holy woman who always has the perfect biblical outlook on this situation. Far from it! I love it that I can share what I have learned but as you read all that I have learned, I remember constant failure and having to repent of my sinful attitude and outlook. The Lord did a number on me. It got a whole lot worse before it got better (as you will read). People say, " I don't know how you did it." Either do I except for Jesus. He got me through.

It's my birthday today and all I can think about was last year when I had a 2 week old baby girl that I didn't know if we would get to keep and now she is my daughter. God is so good ALL THE TIME!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Months with Sissy

Sorry that it has taken me so long to write. My parents were here for a short weekend visit and I have been dealing with an attack of ants in my kitchen! Ugh! Ok....where were we?

The social worker called me and told me that Sissy's grandma and grandpa had shown up for a visit with her. They thought they were going to DCFS for a meeting and when they showed up, the baby was taken from them. The social worker said that the grandma was histerical to be away from her granddaughter and not know who we were or where she was so she gave the grandma our home phone number (standard practice but we said cell phone so they couldn't track our house...DCFS screwed up again). The grandma called and was crying. I was torn. They wouldn't tell us why Sissy had been taken so I didn't know who this lady was but at the same time I felt for her. Here her only granddaughter was with foster parents (and we have all heard the horror stories). I reassured her that she was eating and sleeping well. She called for the next couple of days crying and pretty soon she would only call once a week. You could tell it was killing her.

The court determined that we would start to have weekly visits with them. Once they met us, they knew that we were a great family. I gently talked to her a couple of times about the relationship we COULD have if Matt and I kept the baby, hoping that the Lord would use those words to help them see that Sissy staying with us was in her best interest. They agreeed for a while telling the court that they didn't want to adopt her and that we could. Everything was going great until they changed their minds. I ultimatley think that they just didn't trust us. Everyone, including their own daughter had lied to them so why would they believe us? They didn't believe that we would let them see her. I was already having to take Sissy to visits with them every week but I was about to enter into something harder....the visits with Sissy's birthmom.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Our First Placement: Sissy

Like I said before, we always gaged what situation or child we would take against what was best for Ivy. There were a lot of times that we said no. For instance, if it looked like any family members wanted to "fight" us for the baby, we would say no. Actually that was really the main reason we would say no. There was a couple of times our matcher would get frustrated with us but we cared too much about what situation was best for Ivy.

There were actually times that we said yes but it didn't pan out. We didn't get too discouraged, trusting that the Lord had the right child for our family. We spent the whole summer waiting. I would say that we got a call every few weeks. Then I went back to school. It was my first day back. I had meetings all morning and during my lunch break the matcher called me, she said that she had a 3 month old baby girl. She told me the baby was caucasian and was born to a homeless mother. The birth dad was MIA. The birth mom was an addict and possibly bi- polar. I called Matt and had both phones going at the same time. (I NEVER made this decision without Matt. I didn't care if he made it without me but I wanted him to have the final say.) Matt and I decided to go for it. I left work early to prepare for the baby.

Let me interject here and tell you that no situation is EXACTLY how it is portrayed and this one was WAY off. Do I regret it? NO WAY. The matcher tells you exactly what DCFS has told them the situation is but there is always more to the story and in this case , they had it all wrong. Also, remember that they need to find a home for these kids by the end of the day. Once it is decided that these kids are taken away from their family or whoever, they need a home to go to so a lot of times they make the situation sound really good. remember what they had told me about the baby and situation? Well...the social worker called me and said she was here. I walked out to meet her at the car and she said," You have a little pumpkin on your hands." When she got the baby out she was the most beautiful African American baby. I thought,"Did she go to the right place?" The most priceless face of the whole evening was when I turned the corner with the baby to show Matt and Ivy and Matt's eyes bugged out of his head. hahaha! They didn't even have the race of the baby right!
That didn't matter to us but what did matter was that she was not the baby of a homeless girl but the baby had been living with her grandparents this whole time and something in the home made it not safe for the baby to be there. As more facts came out we realized that these grandparents very much wanted their grandbaby back. That is not the situation we signed up for! However, we both felt like we had made the right decision with the facts we were given. Yes, we could have given her back but she needed us, I think her grandparents needed us, I knew that our home would be a better home for her and I was praying that she was going to be ours.

This was the start of 9 long months. I would not be the same woman, Christian and mother after these 9 months. Ivy would not be the same little girl and Matt would change too. This was the start of a few examples during this time period where I just frankly don't understand what God was doing. Yes, if this situation or another would have worked out then I probably wouldn't have Lucy but I met pain like I never thought I would feel. I had questions for the Lord that were left what do you do? I decided to trust Him, to cling to Him when it hurt so bad, I decided to let go of the why. Did I believe He had a plan for my life or not? Did I believe that He had my good in mind with every situation? If the answer was yes then I had to let go, and I did. I am not extra spiritual He brought me to my knees with nothing else to comfort me but Him.

When you think about it, God let His Son die on the cross for our sins and it hurt Him to watch but it needed to happen. I felt that when I was hurting so bad, He was hurting for me too but He knew I had to go through it. That is His faithfulness. The journey is to be continued....

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Tori Spelling: My early birthday present

Wendy,Ashley and I with Tori Spelling
Me with Tori and Dean.

I was celebrating my birthday a little early with my friends Ashley and Wendy. Who did we meet? Tori Spelling and her husband, Dean McDermott. What a great early birthday present!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Getting Certified

Getting certified for foster care or fost adopt is a lot of work. Can I hear an Amen from the people who have done it? I hear so many people say that they might want to do foster care or fost adopt because they are financially hurting and that they want to adopt a baby, but they only want an easy situation and don't really want to do much with the process. Basically, they want a baby handed to them, they don't want to pay anything, and they don't want any complications. doesn't work that way. Now, don't get me wrong, Matt and I were having a hard time figuring out how we were going to afford to adopt another baby. Adopting costs alot of money. I am thankful yet again, that the Lord deals with Matt and I concerning our finances to help us make decisions. We have always said that we would not go into more debt adopting a baby. (I don't think it's wrong if people do but we felt strongly that we shouldn't.) To adopt for "free" definately had it's appeal but we knew that it was going to be alot of work also.

We took a training for 6 weeks plus we had to get a home study done, you have Dr. appointments,CPR and First Aid cert., home inspections, interviews, you have to child proof your house on overload (not only that but they surprise check your house through out the year while you have a foster child). They teach you about the rules, abused kids...etc. They really want you to know what you are getting into, but then are quick to say that you won't really get it until you do it. A lot of it was hard for Matt and I as Christians because we didn't agree with a lot of the phychology that went with their explanations. But those classes helped us form our view of what we would take in our home and what we wouldn't. We always had Ivy in mind and what was best for her. I remember Wendy telling me,"You need to be a good steward of what God has given you and you know that God has given you Ivy as your daughter so you need to do what is best for her." It was always good to gauge every situation as to what would be best for Ivy.

The other important thing to remember is that in foster care and fost adopt, the goal in the system is to reunify the child with their birth family. You might clearly have a family that would be a better environment for the child but that doesn't matter to the court.They take all emotion out of their decision.

Well....this was again the start of Matt and I living out our theology. We both believe that God is Sovereign. He has everything under control. Everyone is placed where they should be for how long He decides. There is something so freeing in that because I could let it go and give it all to God. If there was ever going to be a fourth member of the Elliott family, He already knew it and He would bring him or her in due time. I am not saying that I never struggled because I did. Not that I ever stopped believing that He was Sovereign but I had fear in what He was going to decide. You will see that later.

I am sitting here typing away looking at Ivy playing at my feet and Lucy eating blueberries next to me. God is so good. Now that I told you about the roller coaster we got on to get certified, hang on because the ride was just taking off!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

And the Story Continues.....

As I said yesterday, Matt and I both said that we would never do foster care as a way of adopting. But 3 years ago in November I started to watch the Dave Thomas (the Wendy's guy) Adoption special called "Home for the Holidays" It has celebrities who have been adopted or who have adopted their children on it and they also showcase older kids in the system who need a home and share people's adoption stories. I LOVE this show and I watch it every year!

3 years ago I got to thinking about America. You never hear about orphanages so where are all these kids at? I googled it and I found out that they were all in foster care. I got on a website and saw the most beautiful boy. His name was Everett. He was 4 at the time and I went into the living room to talk to Matt. I said, "OK. You are going to think I am crazy but I want us to start to pray about considering fost adopt (foster care that turns into adoption.)" Then I said..." AND there is a cute 4 year old named Everett and I want to ask about him." He was like.."KELLI!" I said," Just pray about it." Well...a couple of days later he came back to me and said that he was open to learning more.

That started our baby steps. We started by choosing an agency and then going to an informational night. What harm would that do? Then we drove to Thousand Oaks to the informational meeting because we didn't want to wait for the meeting in our town the next month. That's where we met "Sugar" . We called her "Sugs". If you have ever seen the TV show "Friends", remember Estelle, Joey's agent? That was "Sugs". She always had a TON of jewelry on and she loved to write out all of her credentials on the board. Matt and I liked her. She told us all about foster care, fost adopt, getting certified...all of it. Matt and I talked on the way home and decided that we would proceed with getting certified. Another baby step. What harm would that do? It was free and we felt like we were DOING something to help the process along. But we weren't getting ourselves into something that we couldn't get out of.

I got a phone call back about Everett. It turns out that they were wrong and he had to be adopted with his sister. And they had to have visitation with his older brother, who had ALOT of things going on that I would not want my kids around. Because of that, we closed that door. I believe that God used cute, beautiful Everett to capture a piece of my heart to set me on this path from Him. Next was to get certified!