I arrived back home in NC… without Lil’ Sweetheart. I was talking to a kind friend that watched all three of my children that day and I was sharing with her how it feels confusing when something is so evidently God’s plan, like giving us Lil’ Sweetheart as our daughter, but our efforts to get her home keep getting thwarted! I asked her, what do you do when that happens?? And her reply… “Pray for strength.” That simple answer spoke to me. It was as if she said, “Don’t give up. When the way isn’t easy, pray for the strength you need to keep fighting for what the Lord is giving you. Pray for the strength you need to get your daughter home. Don’t give up!” I praise the Lord for women like her in my life. I may be in a new place, 700 miles from everyone one I once knew, but I am not 700 miles away from God. He has given us good people here, supporting us, loving us and cheering us on. He is so good and I am so thankful.
As for our progress towards getting Lil’ Sweetheart home, we are waiting (again) for travel approval. This time we are asking for travel to start Friday- in two days! If I find out tomorrow that we got approval, then I will buy my plane ticket and fly down to Tampa Friday evening, pick up Lil’ Sweetheart and then hop in the car with my mom and dad. They just happen to be driving up that night to visit us in NC and my newest snuggle muffin and I want to tag along for the ride! I am praying, praying, praying that THIS time we will get our Lil’ Sweetheart home. Granted it’s only for a 30 day visit, but my hope is that we will get approved for placement while she is here.
Doing a foster care adoption across state lines has proven to be WAY more complicated than the in-state ones we are used to. The next big hurdle after getting this visit approved is to get the Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children (ICPC) completed, sent to NC, processed, and sent back to FL. That has to happen before placement and everywhere I turn I’m being told it takes 3-4 months to process an ICPC. 3-4 months?!!! I want her home for good by Christmas! I’m praying for a miracle, y’all. I emailed my U.S. and NC state representatives today and am going to follow up with a phone call next week. A fellow adoptive dad recently told me that my local representative could help push the paperwork through. Sounds good to me! I have no problem doing what I can to speed things up. To know Lil’ Sweetheart is to love her, and I want my little Love home.
Two weeks ago today I was sitting here at my mom’s house, waiting and hoping that we would get approval for Lil’ Sweetheart to travel back to NC with us. Here I am again, hoping this time we’ll get it! As soon as I post this, I’m going to call the GAL and see what news he has for me. According to Lil’ Sweetheart’s foster mom, the attorney has approved travel and we only need the judge’s signature! I’m heading to the airport at noon today and would really like to have my little girl with me. I’m hoping that it happens. I guess we’ll all find out soon enough…. Thank you for praying with me!
I’ve been on a little bit of an emotional roller coaster these last few days, waiting to hear when Lil’ Sweetheart might be coming home. I’ve been up and down between feeling hopeful and trusting God and feeling defeated and depressed. After hearing from the GAL that he didn’t think we’d get her Monday like we’d hoped, I was pretty bummed. I talked to God, though, told Him I really did want to trust Him, asked Him to help me rest in his provision and to believe that He IS working out a good plan.
Then… I got a text from Lil’ Sweetheart’s foster mom. She said I needed to call the GAL asap, that he was working on travel approval for Lil’ Sweetheart to come home with me Monday for a visit! Yeah! Hope rises again! I would love for this to happen but I’m also thankful that God keeps giving me peace that no matter what the outcome, He is taking care of this. It’s like he keeps reminding me that ultimately, HE is Lil’ Sweetheart’s dad and HE is taking care of her and her story. I’m so glad about that.
I called my mom yesterday, crying about how I just wanted my little girl home with me. Then Lil’ Sweetheart called me last night and she started to cry! It must run in the family (wink wink). She is not happy waiting either and she is letting everyone know it. Well, if all goes well tomorrow in court, she won’t have to wait too much longer.
We left Tampa yesterday evening with 3 little bugs snug in their car seats and 1 little bug back at her foster mama’s house. I was praying that we’d get a YES, but we got a NOT YET. I am thankful for all of your prayers and believe that God is listening and working out the details in a different good way.
We were hoping that first thing in the morning yesterday that the GAL’s attorney would be able to talk to the judge and get approval to travel. Instead we waited until 2:30 to find out that a different attorney had to get permission from the Attorney General before they could even ask the judge for travel approval. With that piece of information, we figured it would be best to get on the road instead of waiting in Tampa for an undetermined amount of time.
At this point we have no idea how things will play out. I will be back in Tampa in a couple of weeks and would love to be allowed to bring Lil’ Sweetheart back home with me when I go. I guess we’ll see! I got to take Lil’ Sweetheart to school yesterday morning. We walked hand in hand to her classroom and I got to meet her teacher! I kissed her goodbye, told her I’d see her in a few days and walked away feeling very sad. Later her foster mom texted me and told me Lil’ Sweetheart had said the same thing. She had felt very sad when I left her at school. In all of this, I know God is working out a good plan. Lil’ Sweetheart will be home soon. In the mean time, I am so thankful that we got to spend time with her this weekend. My heart is definitely in this. I love that little girl.
We are staying at my mom’s house this weekend. She and my dad are out of town so we have their whole house to ourselves! It’s been wonderful to have our own space while we’re here in Tampa. I picked up Lil’ Sweetheart yesterday morning and we got to keep her with us all day! We went to the park and out to lunch, then back to my mom’s for a movie before dinner. I definitely think we will see the typical growing pains a family goes through when a new little one is added. We had some tears and hurt feelings yesterday, but nothing more than I would expect. Overall, these four little ones that make my heart overflow with happiness get along pretty well.
As for the meeting on Friday, it went really well and I’m so glad we were able to get it done! There is one more miracle I’d love prayer for, though. It seems like a visit to our home in NC is something they’d like to see Lil’ Sweetheart do before placement. It’s not that we are opposed to visits in general, it’s just that we think Lil’ Sweetheart is ready for permanency now, not more separation while we wait to schedule a visit and then additional waiting until placement. After talking about it with our attorney, we decided to ask the Guardian at Litem (GAL) if we could get a court order for travel approval so Lil’ Sweetheart can come back with us to NC tomorrow! Of course, it was Friday afternoon at 4:30 that we were having that conversation; way too late for the attorney to talk to the judge and get back to us. So instead of hitting the road this afternoon like we had originally planned, we decided to stick around and see what happens tomorrow.
We are very thankful that the GAL was open to pursuing last minute travel approval for us. That is a miracle in itself! And now we are hoping that somehow between the GAL, our attorney, the foster care attorney and the judge, we can be granted travel approval on a VERY short notice. All things are possible with God and I think only He could actually make this happen. If she can come home with us now, then she could return with me to Tampa when I fly down for a dear friend’s wedding in a couple of weeks! And don’t even get me started on when placement might be… I have big hopes for that too.
Honestly y’all, if this was just for me, I’d push for it and pray hard, but after spending time with our Lil’ Sweetheart this weekend I want this now more for her than anything! I think she would be crushed to say goodbye to us. Her little heart is so ready to have a forever mommy and daddy. She needs us and wants us! She has this sweet look of contentment on her face when we have her with us and she hasn’t stopped mentioning how she wants to go home with us since we first saw her Thursday evening. She wants to know what the plan is and I have no idea! We are telling her that today is our last day together until I come down for the wedding, but I’m hoping that after tomorrow morning we will have a wonderful surprise to share with her- that she’s coming back to NC with us!
Ok, I gotta go for now. Thank you for praying! We’ll see what God’s going to do!
I want to be real with y’all. I am blown away watching everything fall into place so smoothly and quickly. We are doing the Adoption Disclosure tomorrow! Just like I wanted, just like I prayed would happen, just like so many of you prayed would happen. THANK YOU! I almost can’t believe it, except that I can, because our God is so good. He is still working miracles.
I know things don’t always happen like this. I know that God works slowly sometimes, so slowly that, to our eyes it looks like he isn’t working at all. In times like that, he is still good, still faithful, still loving. I don’t want you to think that the only proof there is of God working is when we see miracles like this happen. But in this instance, in the life of this little one, God is making things happen quickly all of a sudden.
So tomorrow we will sit down with the adoption specialist and hopefully Lil’ Sweetheart’s Guardian ad Litem. Then maybe we will get a better idea of when she will be coming home. We were originally hoping for next month, November 16th to be exact. Then someone in our new home church in NC asked me if a miracle was possible and Lil’ Sweetheart could come home this weekend?? Hmmmm! I don’t know, but wouldn’t that be amazing?!
We originally met Lil’ Sweetheart 3 years ago as a tiny two year old. That was right about the time Sassy and Lovebug were coming home and Lil’ Sweetheart was just a cute little girl that we met along the way. Now she is a cute five year old that we are hoping will belong to our family very soon! Tonight we got to see Lil’ Sweetheart for the first time since we decided to move toward an adoption of her. We didn’t expect our first visit with her to be until tomorrow, but we got into Tampa earlier than we expected to today and swung by her foster mom’s house for a little while. I asked if I could hold her, picked her up and gave her a little squeeze. She didn’t want me to put her down. She told me she loved me. That precious little girl. I want to get her home. I want to see three cute little girls on my couch watching tv with their mischievous little brother. It’s funny how it has felt like someone was missing ever since we found out Lil’ Sweetheart was ready and waiting for us. We have a spot in our family for her and we can’t wait for her to fill it!
Thank you to all of you that prayed with us. I knew you would! If you think of it, continue to pray for us and for Lil’ Sweetheart. Pray that I will trust God with the details of this process and for what I need to be a good mama to her when she comes home. I am very aware of the fact that no matter how good of a mom I am, I will fall short and I kinda hate that! I wish I could be perfect for her- this super mom that does therapeutic parenting just right in order to heal her heart from the trauma she’s been through. But I can’t. Ultimately my kids need their Savior and so do I! So when I think about it, it’s good to be in a place of needing him. Then I get to see how awesome he is and how much he loves me. He is good.
It has been 6 weeks now since Bryan and I decided to move forward in pursuing an adoption of our newest little sweetheart. Wait a minute- that’s a perfect nickname for her, Lil’ Sweetheart! Last week our home study was completed and emailed out to her adoption specialist, two days earlier than we had hoped! I am so pleased, so thankful, so excited! Only the Lord could take us from not-adopting-anytime-soon to home-study-ready-and-waiting-for-placement in 6 weeks! It’s incredible.
There is one thing I’d love prayer for specifically and it’s over something called an Adoption Disclosure. It’s this huge document that has all of a child’s medical history and record of when she was taken into care, where she lived, etc.. To be officially matched with a child in foster care, the prospective adoptive parents (that’s us!) have to sit down the with adoption specialist and go over all of that information. If, after hearing everything there is to know about a child, the adoptive parents agree to move forward with the adoption, then transitionary visits can start. Transitionary visits lead to placement and that’s what we’re waiting for! We are driving to Tampa this weekend to visit with Lil’ Sweetheart and we are hoping and PRAYING that the Adoption Disclosure will be ready by Friday morning. If it isn’t, we can do a conference call from NC at some point in the future. But I don’t want to wait for “some point in the future”! The sooner we do “Disclosure” the sooner Lil’ Sweetheart can come home!
I told God this morning that I was going to ask his saints here on earth to pray with me about this. I know the Lord hears our prayers and I’m praying that the Adoption Disclosure will be ready for us to review on Friday! Will you pray with me? We have been video chatting with Lil’ Sweetheart the last week or so, and seeing her beautiful, joyful grin melts my heart. I want her home! I want to hold her and tell her I’m her mama. Thank you, prayer warriors! God has been so faithful to us through this whole process, as He always is. Everything has gone so quickly and smoothly, it seems He wants this little one home quickly too! I’ll post another update soon. If Disclosure ends up happening on Friday maybe we will also find out the date of her home coming!