A Baby Brother and a Mission Call

On March 12th, my baby brother, the only brother I have, the youngest of six children, the only one of us to choose to go on a mission.....received his mission call.
Because these days, boys are now receiving their mission calls while still in high school, the opening of mission calls has turned into quite the party.
Amongst all the family members, my brother invited 30 or so of his closest friends and neighbors.
An hour before, my mom and I raided the shelves at Costco and returned with all kinds of treats for everyone to snack on while they socialized.
My sister took the party to the next level by bringing her large maps of the United States and the World and had everyone put a post-it on the location they think he would be serving.
The winner would receive a gift card!

I guessed he would go to Holland. Mike guessed Ghana.

In fact, out of the many people that were there, not a single person guessed correctly.

Bridger was called to the Armenia Yerevan Mission. Armenian speaking.

I was assigned the task of skyping with my younger sister who lives in Arizona.
The beauty of technology so we can all feel together without actually all being together.
And of course, a picture of the baby, because babies are the cutest.

We are so excited that Bridger has made the decision to serve a mission.
I start tearing up every time I talk about it out loud.
I am so excited for him to go.
But I am way more excited for him to come home.
Two years can't go by quick enough.


What's a Foster Family?

Even though I don't have children of my own,
many people who choose to do foster care, do have children and face the dynamic of bringing another child into the home.
While the parents may feel that this is necessary for their family for whatever reason,
some children may not understand what foster care even is.

Anne Garboczi Evans is the author of the children's book, What's a Foster Family?
When Anne and her husband decided to become licensed as foster parents,
they worried how they would teach their then 2 year old son about it.
She looked for books that would assist her but she found that there were no picture books about foster families.
So why not just write one herself?
The book, What's a Foster Family? takes you through the story of a family that decides to do foster care.
It shows the emotions behind the coming and going of children in their home.
It also gives explanations as to why there are children that come to live with us for only a short time.

I really like this book!
Even though I don't have kids myself, I know that explaining the concept of foster care to young children can be difficult.
This book is great for young children giving them just the information that they need to understand what foster care is.
And it's not just for families that are bringing foster children into their homes, but for everyone.
This book will help nieces, nephews, and any child that may be friends with a foster child, like their classmates or those who live in your neighborhood.
I know that when my kids left a few weeks ago,
the friends that they had made, particularly the 5 year olds friends, struggled with the concept of why they had to leave.
To a 5 year old on the outside, I was the mom, and it didn't make sense to them as to why they would need to leave and go be with a different mom.

With the colorful illustrations and the concepts easily explained, this book is a must have for foster families everywhere.
This book can be purchased on Amazon which I will link right here.

And a big thank you to Anne Garboczi Evans for creating this beautiful story.


It's Now Been A Week...

...since the kids have been gone.
At this point it almost feels like they were never here. I knew that would happen.

Saturday was weird.
The new foster family did not come pick them up until 3:00 that afternoon.
The night before, the boys slept over at a friends.
We spent the morning packing up.
And then some lunch at McDonald's.
And some goodbye's to some of our family members.

3:00 came and the new foster family pulled up.
We loaded up the cars with all their stuff.
It was so surreal.
The kids hopped in the cars before we got the chance to say a proper goodbye.

So here's the thing.
I may sound insensitive when I talk about not being attached to the kids.
But those kids, they were not at all attached to us either.
I had to get them out of the cars to even give them a hug.
I did notice perhaps that the 5 year old got a bit emotional once she realized what was actually happening.
But she's not a crier.
And there wasn't a tear shed. By any of us.
When they pulled away, and Mike and I walked into our empty house, my first words were,
"I'm so confused."

You see, even though I knew and expected everything that happened, I didn't know how to feel.
I did feel like I was holding back some tears.
Yet, I felt completely relieved.

Every day, at the end of the day, I do a self-evaluation.
I guess you could call it getting in touch with my feelings.
Do I miss kids?
Not just those kids, but do I miss having kids?
So far, I'm 7 out of 7 days of no.
I don't miss kids.

So our foster care license is active.
But we are on hold.
We have no idea how long we'll keep ourselves on hold. Or if we'll ever go off.
But for now, we are happy. And we are free.


The Answer

Then heavens opened, and our prayers were answered.
And angels were definitely singing the Hallelujah Chorus.

Dreadfully long story short, Grandma and Grandpa broke the cardinal rule.
Therefore making it so that the kids can no longer go live with them.
We all kind of expected things to end up this way, so we're glad they did so quickly before the kids were moved.
Luckily, the back up plan was ready to jump into full swing.
And so it did.
Within days of finding out that the kids could no longer live with their grandparents, they were meeting their foster-to-adopt family.
At first it took some convincing of the kids.
But after that first overnight visit, the kids were sold on the new family.
And they are moving tomorrow.
I asked them yesterday if they like the new family more than they like Mike and I.
There response was so childlike. "Kind of".
But if you could have seen their faces when they said it, you would know they actually meant to say YES!
Which is totally okay.
Really, I'm glad they like the new family more than Mike and I because that's where they are headed.
The 5 year old has mentioned a few times that she is going to miss us.
But I think she'll make the transition easily.
And the boys? Oh, they'll be fine. They'll miss their friends more than Mike and I.
And they are so social, they'll have new friends within 2 weeks, I'm sure.

My reply to their "Kind of" response was "That's great. But we were okay right? We taught you some good things, right?"
"Tell me one thing that you learned from us."
And without missing a beat, the 11 year old replied back, "Priorities. Homework before friends."
It was music to my ears, you guys.
Then the 9 year old chimed in, "Oh and to be nice. And wash your hands for 20 seconds after you come home from school."
I think we won.
Because really, that's all I cared about.
We got each of the kids a gift to give to them tomorrow before they go.
We got them each a book.
Just a book to read. A novel for each of the boys.
A book with pictures of Christ for the 5 year old (to honor that recent obsession because might as well, right?)
Because reading is important. And books and school and trying. It's important.
And they learned that from me!