Baby A. is Officially Ours

11053691_451150641760475_8000524778489925718_nIt finally happened. It’s a done deal. If I had pixie dust and only needed to think up a happy thought to fly, today would by my happy thought.

Today, Sarabeth and I took our foster daughter to the courthouse one last time to solemnly swear to be Baby A.’s legal and official parents forever.

At 10:05 this morning, “Baby A.” officially became Katherine Anne Toy.

In the year and a half we’ve had her, I’ve never felt like she wasn’t our daughter, but now, it’s 100% official.

All I can say is, Katherine, as your dad, I will do my best to give you the life you’ve always deserved, full of happiness, love, and lots and lots of dancing!

Mom and I love you very much. We always will.

Get more updates on Kat and her foster brother on my Facebook Author Page

11693961_10207466994937239_5690274194707290519_n

My Daughter’s Life Will Change In Just Two Days

Adoption-words

…As will mine.

It’s hard to believe we’ve had Baby A. for a year and a half! Since she arrived in our home from the hospital, the house has been louder, more joyful, filled with laughs, and it’s been much, much messier!

Sure, there’s been some bad days where my temper has gotten the better of me, or my patience ran out.

But I wouldn’t give up a single minute with my foster daughter.

And in just two days, she will be, officially and forever known as our daughter.

Sarabeth and I can’t possibly be more happy and proud of our little girl. Every day she surprises us with something new that’s she’s learned and cracks us up over something she does.

Our daughter has become the greatest little person I have even known.

July 22, her adoption day, cannot possibly come fast enough.

Now I need to stop writing about it because otherwise I can’t stop crying!

No, life isn’t perfect. There are many things we’d like to change, many more miles to cross to reach certain goals, and many struggles yet to overcome, but when it comes to our daughter, nothing can possibly give us more joy and satisfaction.

Keep updated on our Adoption Day by following my Facebook Page!

Adoption Update (Enter A Hundred Exclamation Points Here)

IMG_0820

I’m sitting at work on the phone with a customer and, just now, I get a text from Sarabeth:

“Adoption Date!!!!!!!!! July 22 @ 9:45!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Yes, friends. After having Baby A. be a part of our home for the last 548 wonderful days, she will now officially be recognized as a Toy by the state and the world.

Sitting here at work at my desk, it’s very hard not to break down and cry right now.

Next week, we will be revealing Baby A.’s real name and so much more! Keep checking back for updates.

July 22nd 2015: The best day of our lives so far…

Follow the adoption updates closely here!

Approval

 

approved_red_stampWell, it’s been nine months since we attended the foster to adopt classes here in Kentucky. We hit a little snag a couple of months ago, which you can read about here.

Things do seem to be looking up in the Toy household, though. Pixie is recovering nicely from her surgery, and began walking almost immediately (mostly because nothing will stop her from getting to Sarabeth). It’s the next 7 1/2 weeks of recovery (A.K.A. crate confinement) which will be difficult, especially when her little sister Prim is allowed to frolic free around the loft.

And the better news is that we got an email from our case-worker saying that all of our paperwork has been approved and we are finally approved by the state of Kentucky to be foster to adopt parents. Whew!

Nine months.

Like a pregnancy without all the morning sickness and hot flashes (or is that just with menopause?).

So what does that mean, now that we’re approved? Well, it means that we could get a call from the state at any minute, being today or sometime next summer – who knows – and they’ll say, “We’ve got a two-year-old boy here who’s dad is missing and his mom is in rehab…” or “We have a brother and sister here, both under three-years-old who need a home…”

They’ll tell us the situation and any problems that are on record for the kids and ask if we are interested in taking them in.

Before we agree to picking them up, we will ask if they are eligible for possibly being adopted.

By accepting a placement, no matter what the answer to that question may be, we knowingly run the risk of that child being placed back with his or her parents or a relative stepping into the picture to take them in.

But some kids aren’t eligible for adoption for varying reasons. We want to take a child in with the hope that he or she could be ours forever.

So who knows what the future holds for us.

Personally, I’m terrified, as I’ve never had a child before. And it’s not like there’s a due-date. I won’t have six-to-eight hours of labor to let it sink in that I’m having a baby. I won’t get to hand out cigars in the lobby (thankfully this isn’t a 1950s movie, either).

We don’t want to buy toys for Christmas because we don’t know if we’ll have a child with us that morning or not. We don’t know if we need to reserve an extra seat or two at our Thanksgiving table. We don’t even know if we can go see Catching Fire next week because we wouldn’t dare take a two-year-old to such a loud and violent movie.

All we know is that everything is up in the air. And everything is unsure.

But nothing is undecided.

We take comfort in the fact that God knows the exact kid (or kids) that will be placed with us, and when. He knows their temperaments, and He knows ours. He knows whether they’ll be with us for a few months, a couple of years, or forever. He already knows the outcome of the court proceedings that are likely to follow.

We don’t; but He does. And I’m fine with that.

All we can do is have the house ready, warm, and welcoming for whoever we may bring through the door at any hour.

Waiting

photo-1

So an update on our adoption process.

We completed the mandatory classes back in February and March, in which time we completed all the paperwork and turned in the information to have our background checks sent to the state of Kentucky. We had to have them sent in from three different states to provide our background checks: California, Florida, and Washington State. (Marriage and the recession had us moving around a lot.)

After two home-studies which we passed with flying colors (even with three dogs living with us at the time), lots of trips to the baby section at Target, and seven months of waiting on our approval, we got the disconcerting  news that one of Sarabeth’s background checks didn’t make it back to the foster care office before the 90-day expiration date.

On the one hand, I’m glad that the state is being so careful to weed out the ineligible people applying to become foster parents. But on the other hand – come on! We’ve done everything they’ve asked us to the T, even though we didn’t like doing most of it, and much of it just seemed like busywork, plus, there’s so much evidence before them that we’re good-standing, honest, law-abiding citizens, completely competent to welcome and care for a child in our house.

This isn’t me ranting, but these are thoughts that I’ve had the last couple of weeks. It’s hard, sometimes, watching other people raise their kids and often complain what a hassle it is when they don’t nap or potty when they’re supposed to, when we’d be happy to have a kid at all.

But then, weirdly enough, I feel the best about it when I slip into what I call, “cliche mode”. We’ve all heard it hundreds of times in our lives, and I almost regret saying it now, but, “It’s all in God’s timing.”

God isn’t surprised that we don’t have a kid yet. Since the Fall, God never ever planned on us having a kid by this point, otherwise we’d have one now. It really is (cliche mode) all in His timing. And the reassuring thing about that is, there’s a reason for the delay. And what’s even more reassuring about that is that the reason very well may be simply because our kid isn’t born yet. Or it could be something completely different that we’ll never know until we get to Heaven.

We’re all waiting for something in life, aren’t we? Maybe a promotion, a degree, redemption in the life of a loved one. It’s funny because it seems like no one’s in the spring of their life. Everyone seems to be wading through the winter waiting for the ice of despair to melt away forever. Heck, look at all the famous rich people who continually get pulled over for driving, who check into rehab, who kill themselves. We all think they’ve reached the ultimate goal, that they’ve got everything we could ever want, but clearly they’re just as depressed, or worse, than we are.

So even though my book isn’t a New York Times best seller yet, or our crib remains empty, I stop and think about the good things that have happened: We’ve completed all the requirements to become foster parents, we have two awesome dogs that we love so much, we have each other, whom we are madly in love with. And we’re two very blessed people to have a relationship with Jesus Christ, to whom we can bring our petitions and stand confident that they are heard and being considered with love and grace.

So with all that in perspective, what’s a little more waiting?

God and Bigfoot

FINDING BIGFOOT

There’s this show on Animal Planet that Sarabeth and I get a kick out of every once in a while. In Finding Bigfoot, a ragtag team of amateur “scientists”, led by “Bobo” explore the United States in search of the legendary Bigfoot.

I put the word scientists in finger quotes because these guys really don’t use any scientific tools or methods to find his quiet creature. (And, according to the show, there are thousands upon thousands of “squaches” scattered throughout North America.) Instead of scientific methods, the team relies solely on estimations and hypotheticals.

For instance, in one episode, Bobo decides that squaches are attracted to the sound of crying infants. So they get a baby doll with a voice-box that plays the sound of a crying baby, and place it in the middle of the woods late at night while the team camps out and waits for the squatches to come rescue it.

When talking to “witnesses”, the team will attempt to recreate the alleged scenario by playacting what the witness saw on location. So if the witness says he was standing by the oak tree thirty yards away from his backdoor, they’ll have him stand exactly there, and then they’ll run across the glade or valley or road and attempt to walk and act just like a squatch might. They’ll even raise their hand in the air until the witness says, “Yup. That there’s about right. That’s ’bout how tall the feller was when I seen ‘im three yers ago. And he just picked an apple an’ ate it right off muh tree.”

It really is a humorous show, whether you subscribe to the existence of Bigfoot or not. Bobo has a saying that Sarabeth and I use quite frequently around the house: “I’m not a believer. I’m a knower.”

I wonder sometimes if we Christians seem as cooky to the world as these squelch hunters seem to us. I know the Bible says we entertain angels, but I wonder if our neighbors and unbelieving friends just look to us for laughs.

I get a lot of looks and stares from my coworkers when I decline their offer of a cigarette, or pass on a drink. Even my work ethic, because it’s centered around the Gospel leaves many of them scratching their heads in confusion.

And really, even though science points and yells and screams at the existence of God, our unbelieving friends have a hard time seeing beyond the great discoverers and inventions who take all the credit for the universe’s phenomenons.

And just like the squatch hunters, we’re left with an ancient Book and our own personal testimonies to convince people that, though they can’t see Him and He rarely shows up when He’s expected, God does in fact exist.

So Christians, you may be laughed at or mocked or spited, but don’t let that deter you from sharing your faith anyway. Live out the Gospel in everything you do. Show love, mercy, kindness, just as Jesus does.

And maybe – just maybe – our friends and family members will become believers – or “knowers”.

Those Sweet Moments

Ladies and gentlemen, I am proud to announce the arrival of the newest addition to our family, Primrose Ever Toy! (Her middle name is still uncertain.) I’m guessing she weighs in at 1.8 pounds, and is about 9 ” long – shorter than a ruler. No, it’s not James, or Katherine Anne – we’re still waiting on our background checks from other states – but she is our second puppy. Pixie’s cousins will be leaving her in just a couple of weeks, and I finally caved and let Sarabeth pick out a little sister for Pix, so she won’t be so lonely. Plus, what kid wouldn’t feel instantly at home in a house with not one, but two dogs?Photo on 7-17-13 at 9.37 AM

We picked Prim up yesterday evening at 7:00 pm. We drove two hours deep into the heart of Kentucky, so Prim is certainly a good ol’ country girl. Kinda like that old folk song, Old Blue – and Prim is indeed blue and tan. Cutest – and smallest – puppy I’ve ever seen. (Seriously, she barely even comes up to my ankle.) And do you want to know the crazy thing? She slept all night long! We were prepared for a long wakeful night, but Prim was gracious to us (or just exhausted).

So here’s the story behind her name. You Hunger Games fans will appreciate this. She is indeed named after Katniss’ young sister, Primrose Everdeen, who was a symbol of life and love and peace. After all, that’s what all puppies represent, right? Newness of life, unconditional love, and a stubborn refusal to show any hostility toward anyone or anything.

DSCN0020It’s taken me a while to turn this corner, but the more I’m with dogs, the more I’m convinced that they’ll be in Heaven. I know, I know – in the grand scheme of things, that doesn’t matter, and animals don’t have souls, Jesus didn’t die for dogs or cats and blah, blah, blah. I’ve heard all the theological arguments against it, and my mind can’t argue it, but my heart can care less what they all say.

The aisle is split, it seems, perfectly in half. You’re either a Dobsonian on the issue, like James Dobson (who our son will be named after), and promote the idea of heavenly dog houses, or you’re a Mooronian and side with Dr. Russell Moore, in that people shouldn’t even bother to own pets, as they are a waste of time and energy.

DSCN0034Some things just aren’t written in stone.

Bottom line is, there are some moments in life that remind us all just how miraculous life is. I think we need to ferociously hunt down those moments, and share them with all we love, whether they involve puppies, or babies, or the elderly, or mentorship/discipleship.

I urge you, to invite a sweet moment into your life this week. Just for a moment, shed the burden of monotony and seek out a sweet moment to remember in dimmer days ahead.get-attachment.aspx

Our sweet moment came as a family last night when Pixie and Prim bonded for the first time and fell completely in love with each other. We literally witnessed the birth of an unbreakable, lifelong friendship.

Those are sweet moments that are Toy Story-sad, and Gospel-sweet. Those are the moments we should be chasing – even if it sets you back a few hundred dollars. Those are the priceless moments that change our lives for the better.

Be sure to check out Sarabeth’s dachshund blog for more Prim pictures (I assure you there’ll be plenty more to follow, so be sure to subscribe for updates). As well as her and her sister’s decorating/lifestyle blog, From Flats to Lofts.

We got Prim from an outstanding breeder. Every dachshund was absolutely beautiful. If you’re looking for a place to get a dachshund, check out this site: Legend’s Dachshunds. We couldn’t be any happier with the service and care they gave us.

Photo on 7-17-13 at 7.31 AM #2

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 17,541 other followers