wife to Jake, mommy to my 3 crazy munchkins, Lily (7), Jonah (5.5) and Kate (4). Taking this crazy blessed life one day at a time.

4.25.2016

adoption update

Well, since my last post, quite a bit has happened. 

For the past 8 months, DCF has been working to reunite J with his birth family. 

It was 8 months of uncertainty about whether he would stay with us or be reunited, but it was also 8 months of loving on the sweetest little boy. 

A few weeks ago we found out that J's goal changed from reunification to adoption. 

This means that they are no longer trying to reunite him with his birth family and are instead working to find him a forever family. 

Since this change, I have had a lot of questions about what's next for us and for him. 

So, here's what has to happen before we would be able to adopt him:

- J is assigned an adoption worker
- lots of paperwork needs to be filled out
- DCF is searching for other members of J's family that could possibly adopt him. (Biological family comes before foster family)
- If they find possible family members for J, that family would need to go through and pass everything that we went through to become a pre-adoptive home.
-If no family is found, then we would be named the pre-adoptive family for J. 
- We work with social workers to see if we can agree on open adoption terms with birth family (if it's looking like an open adoption case.)
- Then lawyers and social workers go to court to try to terminate parental rights. 
- If everyone has agreed to open adoption terms, then after rights are terminated, we schedule the court date for the adoption finalization. 
- If terms were not agreed on for the open adoption or if judge wants a closed adoption, birth family has 30 days to appeal. 
- An appeal would prolong this entire process 1.5-2 years (!!!!)

So, right now, that is what we are facing. It is quite the process! But it is worth every second we get to spend with J. 

So many people tell us and other foster/adoptive parents that they "couldn't do it." That they'd "get too attached." 

While it has been hard falling in love with this baby and not knowing his future with us, can't we say the same thing about our biological children? We don't know how long we have with them or what their future holds. But we love them unconditionally, provide for them, meet their needs, have fun with them and live each day not knowing what the next day holds. 

Same with foster care. These kids need a family that will just love them and provide for them and keep them safe. They need you to get attached! And they need to attach to you! Even if you don't know how long they will be with you.
If J were to leave our family, I imagine I would feel the same as if one of my biological children suddenly left our family. Foster child, adoptive child, biological child- it doesn't matter- you don't know what God has in store, so don't let that stop you if you feel led to pursue foster care or adoption.

This process, although very hard, has been life changing for us and we have grown as a family and individually in so many ways. 

Not once have I regretted taking J into our home. 

And even if we all end up heartbroken at the end of this, I can guarantee all 6 of us wouldn't trade these months with J for anything. 

That being said, in our situation, things are looking promising that he will end up with us. We won't know for sure for a few months still, but we are very hopeful. 

Thank you to everyone that has been praying for us and supporting us through this journey- we are so very thankful for you! 


3.18.2016

"Trust Me"

Everyone knows that the foster care/adoption process is not easy.

We knew that going into it. We heard it in our training classes, from our friends, from our family, from our social worker and from strangers.

But I can tell you, it's harder than you think. It's harder than I thought it would be.

It's hard filling out all the paperwork and going through the training classes and meetings, but you get through it and move on to the next step.

It's hard waiting and waiting for an email or phone call about a potential placement. It's even harder saying "no" when you know in your heart it isn't the right fit.

It's hard when you say "yes", but then they pick a different family.

It's hard when you finally get that call and the answer is yes and suddenly your world has changed.

It's hard, so so hard, when every Thursday, reality smacks you in the face when you talk to his social worker about visits with birth parents.

It's hard not yet knowing what will happen.

This journey is so much more difficult than I thought it would be. And I'm not sure you can fully understand it until you are experiencing it.

A few months ago, I was feeling very anxious about everything. It was a really rough visit with birth mom for me and I was feeling really discouraged when I heard a voice say, "Trust Me."

That was it.

"Trust Me."

And since then, I have felt peace.

This is the only time in my life where I am certain it was God speaking to me and I have never questioned that.

"Trust Me."

Things are starting to happen in J's case and over the next few months, more of his future will be decided. Will he stay or will he go?

"Trust Me."

The thing that I realize about these words, trust me, is that God is not telling me that J will stay. He is not telling me that he will go.

He is telling me through two simple words, that whatever happens with J, He is in control. He loves me, He loves J, He loves my family, and whatever happens in the end, will bring Him glory.

"Trust Me."

Knowing that we will be finding out in the coming months about J's future, I have felt myself begin to get anxious again. But remembering "Trust Me" and how I felt when I first heard those words, I feel at peace again, but it is still so hard.

We love this baby more than words can express. Please pray for his future, the next few months with meetings and court dates coming up, pray for us, for patience, for understand, for wisdom, and to continue to trust.




11.09.2015

all in.

As we first began going through the steps to become a pre-adoptive home, there were many things about adoption that scared me. 

" Are we doing the right thing? Is this going to be too much? Can we afford more kids? Are we crazy?! How will our biological kids feel/act/behave? What if they don't like us? What if this is too hard?"

As we moved through the process, slowly those fears began to fade away. A few remained, but I was feeling pretty good about the whole thing. 

When we finished our training classes, even though they were terrifying and heartbreaking and scary and hard, I felt oddly peaceful and the excitement really began to grow. 

But even as my excitement grew, there was still one real fear in my heart. 

" Will I love them? Will they feel like mine? Will I want to smother their little faces with kisses like I do with my other kids? Will it feel like babysitting? Will it feel the same as my other three?"

These thoughts and fears were very real for me and made me second guess our path once or twice. 

Then we got D for one week. Respite care. We knew he couldn't stay. He already had a family trying to adopt him.

But we got a glimpse. A little peak at what it would someday be like for us. When we wouldn't have to send them back once we all started to get attached. 

And that little glimpse made us all excited for the future and a little of that fear began to fade. 

But I was still unsure. Still some of that fear lingered in my heart. I wasn't all in with D because we knew he wasn't ours. 

And then came J. 

A baby. 12 days old. 

The first couple of weeks and months were hard. Suddenly having a newborn again is not the easiest transition in the world. 

But life was good. We were all soaking in life with new baby. Well, as much as we could with construction and schooling and soccer and so on. 

Once we had J, that fear I had was no longer.

It is amazing to me how quickly he felt like mine. Like a part of our family. Like he had a piece of my heart all along. 

But now that J is about 3 1/2 months old, things are changing. 

He is sleeping better, he is happier during the day, he is showering us with the most precious smiles and coos you have ever heard. 

I suddenly find myself head over heels for this boy. 

I think I was not all in the first couple of months because, let's face it, life with a newborn is hard hard work. 

But now that he is moving out of newborn and moving into baby, I realized today, that I am all in. 

I love this boy more than I was expecting. 

I love him like he is my son. Like he always was my son.

I think it is so beautiful how God can grow this bond between people and how they can become yours even if you don't share the same blood. It is incredible what the human heart is capable of.

Now, the only fear that I am left with is J's future. 

We pray that he will end up wherever is best for him. Wherever he needs to be to learn the love of Jesus and to share the love of Jesus, let him be there. Whether that's with us, or with his birth family, let it be. 

The only thing is, all 6 of us are all in. 

But that's just what J needs. He needs us to be all in. And we are.

I am so happy and relieved to say that the fear I had in my heart about loving a child that I didn't give birth to has vanished. God works in wondrous ways and just as He has adopted us and loves us and gives orphans a home, He has given us the ability to do the same. It brings tears to my eyes thinking about how much I love J and how incredible it is to love someone this way. 

Blood doesn't make you a family. You make your family. You choose to love. Always choose love. 


10.26.2015

An update and some Q&A.

Well, it's been nearly two months since my last post so I thought it was time for an update.

J turns 3 months old this week. It's crazy to me how quickly he's becoming a baby and not a tiny newborn. 

The BEST thing about J right now are his smiles and coos. Seriously, is there anything better?! I think not. 

Life has been stabilizing a bit since he is getting bigger and is on more of a schedule now, however life is still completely crazy with baby, house construction, grad school, homeschooling, and all of J's visits and appointments. It's all going fairly well, but it's been the busiest time in our lives hands down. 

I have been getting a ton of questions about everything going on, especially with J, so I thought I would answer some:

Q: So, did you guys adopt J yet? 
A: No. And if we are able to, it won't happen for a long time.Like years. He is not on the adoption track yet, as pretty much the first year of his life, his goal is to be reunified with his birth family. 

Q: So, what do you know about his birth mom?
A: We know little bits, and are learning a bit more as time goes on. But we are not really able to share any of that info publicly. 

Q: Did you name him? 
A: We did not! If you know him, you know that his name actually fits in well with the rest of our names, which is fun. But birth mom named him and gave him a pretty good one, if I do say so myself :) 

Q: Did you expect/Did you want a baby?
A: NO! We did not expect a baby at all! If you've read any of my other posts about our adoption journey, you know that we were looking at 1-3 kids from ages 0-5. Honestly, Jake and I thought we would get a sibling group of 2 with one closer to age 4-5 and one maybe age 1-2. Everyone knows that the wait list for babies is always really long, so we just assumed that we would never get a baby. But we got the call, said yes, and we are so happy to have J with us. 

Q: So when is your house going to be done?
A: Well, there is no real timetable since Jake is doing most of the work himself, with help from my awesome father-in-law. He is thinking we will be able to move up into the new bedrooms in the spring. But it really just depends on how quickly Jake works :) 

Q: How is homeschooling going?
A: Honestly, not as well as I was envisioning. It is going pretty well- the kids are enjoying it and doing well at their work, but I am not loving it as much as I thought I would. But we are still getting started and finding our way and there is still plenty of time for things to improve. 

Q: How is J sleeping at night?
A: Much better! He's up once or twice for a bottle and usually goes back to sleep easily. I'm still always tired because life right now is just so exhausting that I don't think any amount of sleep will feel like enough! 

Q: How are the kids doing with J?
A: The kids are amazing with J. They love him so so much and it has been so awesome to see them love and care for this baby. They want to hug, kiss and hold him all the time (unless he's crying....) and are quick to help out when I need it. They even change some diapers and give him a bottle! 

That's all I can think of for now. Please continue to keep us in prayer as I do not foresee things slowing down for us anytime soon. 

We are so thankful for the prayers and support from all of you!






9.05.2015

Life these days.

We have had the babe for almost 4 weeks now. Which I find to be somewhat unbelievable, seeing that the waiting-for-a-placement part of adoption seems to take forever, but now that he's here, time is flying at the speed of light. 

Life these days is, well.... crazy. 

Honestly.

We are in the middle of major house renovations. The first floor is nearing completion, but in a few short weeks, we will have no roof and cranes will be hoisting the frame of our second floor up onto our house. 

We started homeschooling last week. The kids are loving it, especially Lily, and it is going fairly smoothly so far. But we are still working on finding our groove, our routine, our rhythm.

Sleep in this house is.....let's just say I wish there was more of it. I am hoping someday soon I will be able to get more than 3 hours at a time.

As for adjusting to life with a newborn again?

I'd say we all have adjusted very well. Surprisingly, the kids have done pretty great for suddenly having to share so much of mom and dad's time and energy. They love this little boy like he has always been a part of our family, which is really awesome to see.

We have quickly adjusted to making bottles, (sometimes one handed!), to lugging that incredibly heavy infant car seat around, to changing diapers, to doubling our dishwasher usage (thanks to said bottles...), to quickly catching spit-up and to all the other little things that you so quickly forget about when you have a newborn in the house. Except the waking up multiple times in the middle of the night. That's a little harder to get used to.

We have been soaking in the snuggles, the squishy cheeks (his are seriously delicious), the soft, fluffy hair, the teeny tiny baby hands and feet (the kids can't get over how small his toes are), the baby yawns (why is it so cute when babies yawn?), and one of my favorites, the baby stretches (he stretches just like Jonah did as a baby and I love it).

While we are enjoying this sweet newborn, we are often snapped back into reality by phone calls, emails, conversations and visits. It's easy to forget that he's not ours until we are reminded about visits with birth parents, check-ins with social workers, doctors appointments where I can give no medical history, questions from strangers about if he is breastfed and why not, and comments from a nosy old lady asking me, in a very rude and judgmental tone, if I am even old enough to have all these kids.

This is a rough process and we are just at the beginning. I am sure that hardest is yet to come.

But, it is worth it. We are giving baby J a loving home where he is safe and cared for. However long he is with us is time well spent, even when it's hard.

Please keep praying for us, as this, even though it's going pretty well, is honestly a very hard season of life. We are so thankful for all of you that are loving baby J right there with us, and for those of you that are supporting us.




8.15.2015

The call. {Our second foster care experience}

Of course the call came when we least expected it. 

It always seems to work that way. 

The call came on Monday. Actually, the email came first. 

"Any interest?" was written in the subject line.

A 12 day old baby boy.

The call came at 3:00.
 Our homestudy was chosen. We were chosen. 

We made an emergency trip to Target (where else?!) to get supplies to get us through the first couple of days: diapers, wipes, formula, some clothes, pacifiers, a baby blanket.

We went to the hospital that night to meet him, to feed him, to learn more about him. 

The next day, after dropping 3 very excited children off with Grandma Jan, we headed to the hospital to bring home our boy. 

It took 2 hours of talking to the doctors, nurses and social workers, signing papers and packing up his things, until we were walking out into the rain, carrying this new little life. 

I whispered to Jake, "They are letting us leave with a baby!"


It has been so surreal to be home with a newborn again. I still can hardly believe it. 

Ever since we started this process, I have wondered what it would feel like taking in someone else's child as my own. Would I feel the way I do about my biological children? Would it feel like babysitting? Would it feel like a burden?

Honestly, I was scared.

I was scared that I wouldn't love them the same as my kids, scared that it would feel like a burden.

With J, I am relieved to say that the past few days have been nothing but a joy.

Aside from some sleep-deprived, middle of the night frustration on night 2, I have been soaking everything in. We never thought we would get a newborn, so it feels like such a gift to be able to experience this stage of life again.

I already love this little guy so much. We all do.

We are fostering to adopt, but with babies, in the beginning, the goal is for them to be reunified with their birth family. It's a long road adopting babies from DCF.

Sadly, I can not tell you if J will be with us forever. We hope that someday he can proudly say he is a Kreyling, but we won't know that for quite a while.

If he does end up leaving us, I know that we will be able to say that we loved him fiercely, prayed over him, read to him and talked to him about Jesus, and that our lives will be better for knowing him.

But for now, he is ours and we couldn't be happier. 

Please join us in welcoming and loving our new little boy.

As Jonah has excitedly been telling everyone, "Come meet my new little brother that we hope to adopt someday!!!"

(Our amazon wish list: https://www.amzn.com/w/3PPXQMY764PE6 )



7.28.2015

Our first foster care experience.

Last week we had a 3 year old boy come to live with us for the week. It was a respite care situation and it was our first time having a child from DCF come into our home.

Honestly? I was excited, but nervous. And scared.

We knew a bit about him and even got to meet him once, but still, I was nervous. Since we had never done this before, I just didn't know what to expect.

But we went in to this knowing that this boy needed a home for the week, knowing that he would have to leave us and go back to his family, and knowing that he just needed a family to love on him, keep him safe, care for him and have fun with him.

And that's what we did.

And we all stepped up to the plate. Especially my kids.

Boy do those kids love and love hard.

They welcomed him and immediately brought him into our family.

Jonah was thrilled to share his room, his toys, his stuffed dinosaur and even a few pairs of socks. Lily happily took him up and down the treehouse countless times, put on his shoes, read him story after story after story, and was so proud to be the first one to successfully put him down for his nap. Kate was his constant playmate, holding his hand on family walks (at his request), playing trucks in the dirt, and blowing hundreds of bubbles.

It was beautiful.

I can't really explain how it felt to see my kids in this way. They were so sweet, so caring, so loving, so forgiving, so accepting, so helpful, in ways I had never seen them before.

Overall, it was a great week. We definitely had some bumps and bruises along the way, as it is never a seamless transition. One thing that surprised me was how quickly Jake and I forgot what it was like living with a three year old! And a three year old that was constantly learning the rules and how we do things in our home. Boy was it exhausting!

We had lots of fun going swimming, blowing lots of bubbles (I think we went through 4 bottles!), going to playgrounds, the library, the splash pad, the bakery, playing with planes and trucks and cars and eating lots of PB&J sandwiches.

By the time Sunday came, we were all checking the clock to see how much time we had left with him and would then run to go play with him some more. When it was time for him to go, we had 4 very sad children. Two were crying and giving hugs, not wanting to let go. One was crying, "don't want to leave! Don't want to go! Want to stay here!"

It was very hard to say goodbye.

It was a good experience and I am glad we had it. We learned a lot about how it feels and what it's like having a child from DCF come into our home. Honestly, it's hard for me to put into words.

But it was hard. It was hard knowing he wouldn't get to stay.

Even though it was painful to say goodbye, we are all changed by this experience, changed by him, changed by opening our home and our hearts to this boy. We are hopeful that one of these days, we will get a child or two or three, and not have to say goodbye.