Thursday, September 17, 2009

In Daddy's words

Cary started the following email the day we got home with our daughters, but he has yet to finish it. I just love his way with words, so I wanted to share them with you. If you see them twice, just pretend you didn't. :)
Friends and family,

Today at 9:30 AM, Amanda and I were blessed to become the parents of Keeleigh Beonna Nicholas (4) and Gabriella Moana Nicholas (6).

Beonna, Gabby and their sister came to stay with us in October of 2008. They came from another foster family that had them and two other sisters, but could no longer handle all 5. Sister decided she did not want to be a part of our family so she went back to the former foster family.

Beonna has come so far since she came to stay with us. She is our little tornado in a teacup, a whirlwind of feistiness and opinion. We decided to give her the name Keeleigh, an Irish name which means "Conflict", and keep Beonna as her middle name. She looks so much like Amanda when she was younger. She loves Dora the Explorer and Diego. As you may also know, she loves the band Queen too :) (Her current favorite song is "We Will Rock You!") She is attending pre-school and loves to go.

Gabby is a sweet, loving little girl. We decided to give her the middle name Moana, which is a Maori word meaning "Sea" or "Ocean", which fits Gabby's soothing temperament (which can suddenly become hard to handle, like the sea).
Gabby loves all things pretty and princessy. She does really well in school, especially Spelling. Her mamaw reckons Gabby gets that from her. :)

We love our girls so much. We hope they can always remember how special they are and how much they are so many.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

How Two Became Four...Part Deux!

So, as I said before Wednesday was *the* day! Cary and I were a ball of nerves. The day that we had been waiting for for so long was finally here. So much of the day's proceedings were unknown to us and that was part of what made us so nervous.
We were taking all five of our kids up with us, which meant that I had to get up in the wee hours of the morning. Ok, it was really only 6:15am, but it sure felt like the wee hours. All of our kids were beautiful, handsome, and adorable. We were taking Mum with us and my dad. Our friends were going up with us and were able to take some of our kidlets. We were blessed to be able to share the day with some of our good friends. We are grateful that Mum was able and willing to take the day off work to spend it with us.
Cary drove us up to Salt Lake to the court house. We were running late. I was grumpy and nervous. Not the best combination for me. :) I don't much care for the way Cary drives, but I welcome it because that means that *I* don't have to drive! :) Bug was in the very back behind me and she says, "Mommy, Daddy is not a good driver, huh?" HA! Thanks to her, a lot of our stress was relieved for a few moments. She's good for comic relief.
We arrived at the court house, finally. Cary decide to take the scenic route and made some, what I like to call WRONG, turns. ahem.
We met up with our lawyer and the caseworker. We went into a little room to discuss what we would be asked in court. About 5 minutes later the bailiff called us in and it was our turn to go in before the judge. Judge Valdez. The man is intimidating. He is powerful. But, he is fair and truly has the children's best interest in mind in all that he does and says in the courtroom.
Our lawyer started asking us questions. Not even difficult questions, questions like "what's your name? what is your birth date? What is your address?"
I made it to "what is your address" before I lost it. I couldn't form a sentence. I was crying like a baby! I was so overcome with emotion that I couldn't speak. Brooks, our lawyer, teased me later that usually people wait until the "will you love this child as a natural child" question before they become crying fools. :)

We muddled through the questions, all the while Gabby and Bug were sitting like little ladies with tu-tu fingers. Bug wanted to know what everything was and more importantly WHY it was there. Oh the "Why!?". When I heard Judge Valdez say the words, "the adoption petition is hereby granted. Mr. and Mrs. Nicholas are as the natural parents and will be listed as such on the minor children's birth certificate and social security cards.", I cried even harder. Cary and I clutched each other's hands as we held our daughter's hands. We didn't need words. We looked at each other and knew. We are a family. We have our daughters. We are blessed beyond measure.
Judge Valdez said something and the crowd applauded. He said, "oh, come on folks that was lame" So, our friends and family did it again. This time, loudly. It was wonderful. Judge Valdez gave Gabby and Bug each a stuffed animal and we were able to take some photos with him. He allowed the girls to sit in his chair. Hi! Highlight!

We took our photos and they ushered us out where we went and signed some more papers and got more copies of stuffs. Our lawyer presented us with a pen that was THE pen with which we signed the adoption papers. It's in a box with a poem that is titled "The pen that changed it all." It was a nice gift.

We celebrated afterward with lunch at Golden Corral. Today is my birthday and my now 11 yr old's birthday and that is what he chose. The kids love it. Nothing like being able to choose what you want to eat and going back 2,3, 8 times for food. :)

That was our day. The first day of the rest of our lives, as it were.
What a blessing!
I have to upload my photos of the day, but first I must find the cord. I'm going to post a photo that we took at Antelope Island. I love this picture. :)

How Two Became Four... Part One

Wednesday was the day! It was a day that Cary and I have been looking forward to with much anticipation for so many years. We were blessed with two little lovely little girls who will very soon become part of our forever family. It brings me to tears again just thinking about it. As you can imagine, I was a ball of cry yesterday. Yeah, pretty much all day.
I will share with you our story from the beginning. Prepare for a long post!
Last year our RFC (resource family consultant) emailed us about a list of possible children. Among the list was a sibling group of five girls. At the time, Cary and I said there was NO POSSIBLE WAY we could handle five kids (HA, Right?). But, we would be interested in the middle three, 3, 5, and 7 year old little girls. We were anxious and very curious. It took about a month before we received a call from the caseworker to tell us more about the case. She outlined the case and told us a little bit about each girl. We were intrigued and wanted to learn more about the girls. The caseworker set up a meeting with us and two more possible families. The girls were in a home that had five biological children and had a sibling group of five girls. Three of which were the girls we were "interviewing for". The caseworker came to our home and told us more about the girls and asked us a million more questions.
It took another month and she told us that we were chosen and we would be placed with the girls! We were excited! We were nervous! We were also very curious. We knew that the parental rights would be terminated soon and that these children could quite possibly be *our* children.
The girls were placed with us in October '08 and it was a nerve-wracking day. They were beautiful girls and we were anxious to start building a bond with them. I can honestly say *now*, building that bond was one of the hardest things I have ever done.
Sometimes the caseworker fails to tell you absolutely everything about a child, and she had kind of left out a couple things. One of which was that Beonna had severe problems. She raged. If you have never seen a child truly rage, it is one the most frightening and frustrating things you've ever seen. The only way we can describe it is that while in a rage, Beonna would leave her body. Her eyes would be vacant, she would scream at the TIPPY TOP of her lungs, she would scratch, hit, kick, pound her head against the wall, (and more) and all of this could last as long as an HOUR. Waking up from a nap could set her off, not getting her way could set her off, and the sun shining could set her off. I did not know how to handle it.I didn't want to handle it. This child was not what I had envisioned for *MY* forever family! It pains me, but I can write that now. It was a very hard time for me. I wanted to give up. Cary, however, had a much different feeling about her. Somehow he could see through it all and knew that this little firecracker was meant to be ours, and we were not going to give up on her. He would not let me give up. How grateful I am for him and his faithfulness! He knew we could get through it. I prayed as I had never prayed before. I prayed for her, for me, for the other girls, and for Cary. I took as many parenting classes as I could. I read blogs, I listened to other parents' stories, and Beonna had therapy. (As a side not I am listening to Bridge Over Troubled Water by Simon and Garfunkle right now on Itunes. fitting, no?)
Time passed and before I knew it I was falling in love with little "bugga bugga". At first her fits were not improving, but Heavenly Father was blessing me with the patience to deal with it and to see what Cary had seen all along. She has made improvements, HUGE MASSIVE STINKING improvements. She doesn't leave her body anymore, she stays with us. When she is starting to go into a "fit" as we call it now, I sing to her "Child of God" or "I love to see the Temple". Those are her songs and help her to come out of it. It's amazing what Heavenly Father can do!
Gabby had been my little bucket of sunshine. From the beginning she has been loving and caring and such an amazing little girl. When she came to us she was about a year and a half behind all of the other kids in her class. I am proud to report that she now gets all 100% (s) on her spelling tests and works very hard at reading and math. She is, for the most part, really mellow and happy. She gets that from Cary. :)
Now some of you might be wondering what happened to the third little girl. Well, sadly, she decided that she did not want to be part of our little family and she returned to live with her previous family. It has been the best situation for everyone, actually.
I will leave it at that. :)
A lot of things have happened over these last 11 months and it has been a long and bumpy ride. But, it has been completely worth it and looking back I wouldn't have it any other way. I have been able to learn more about myself, my husband, and my daughters. I love my Bug. I love my Gabbalella. They *are* and forever will be, My Daughters.
This brings me to my next post...Part Deux!