We've just moved 12 weeks ago. We are still getting used to Jared's long daily work schedule and first-year teacher stress. We are getting used to new friends, new church responsibilities, new daily routines of time and place. And on top of it all a baby girl was born just 20 days after our move, to my cousin in Michigan. On July 25th. The baby was taken into care by CPS two days later, and we knew that because we are directly related that we could add our names to the due diligence search for relatives and thought that maybe this would be the way to help Lukas have a sibling.
But because court processes take time, the baby is now over 2 months old and in the care of a foster family in MI. The court must still convene to see if the parents will retain parental rights/be offered services from the court to promote family reunification, or if they will lose those rights in which case the child could be turned over to a TBD private adoption agency who is contracted with the State. More hearings after the parental one to determine each step of the way. In all of this interesting chain of events we've been going to 3-hr long Foster Care classes, first one hour away, and then much closer, for a shot at a chance of adoption. Since we're so far out of the state of MI, we basically have to be licensed in order for a placement to happen with us. (Licensing involves 27 hrs of classes twice a week = Lukas at babysitters evenings after already missing seeing Dad) as well as First Aid courses, fingerprints, background checks and home studies...on top of a parent already being gone to Mutual in the week, or Parent Conferences, Board Meetings, Back to School Night, RS, etc.
It seemed barely do-able, especially on top of Jared's already heavy and precariously balanced work load, but we were trying to make it work, knowing that this cousin had called us and wanted us to take the baby, and knowing that we would love to invite more kids into this family. That is until her list of possible family members increased to more than just me. There's another cousin of the birth mother who is in-state, who's adopted earlier this year, who has already had visitation with the baby, who wants to take the baby and her half sister (who's 6 days younger). Anyways, I'm out now. And it's like a crane has lifted a burden and I just feel peace, so I feel like it's the right thing to do. The baby is in a good foster home and has a good home option waiting, and my family is not going to implode on its way to becoming someone else' "plan B". So there you have it. The Loehrmann family is still 3. And I'm at peace about it. I don't know when or if it will ever be more. I know that if it stays three people for the rest of my life that that is also okay. It's not for lack of trying. I've seen HUGE setbacks in Lukas while dealing with all the stress in his own little ways (not great- for a week there I was thinking, "Where is my Lukas??") but since it's basically 'over' and we're now walking away from this whole situation, I can feel him coming to a calmness and old self too.
We also all got sick. Probably the culmination of too many candles burning at too many ends. Sick Lukas is pretty cuddly and, well, warm. Poor kid. Being sick involved staying inside most mornings, which meant doing lots of indoor things and ... well... crafts. We watched www.sendungmitdermaus.com and clicked on the blue elephant (for Anna Mock's info!) to see these really cool 1-2 minute science/fun "experiments"-- including making 'magic pictures' with glue sticks and then some sand to discover the picture. I used salt. Now Lukas is a salt picture-making maniac. So out sits this bowl of salt and a soon-to-be-rusting old cookie sheet so we can dump sand over paper to discover the picture below. Then he decorates the picture more with glitter glue from the dollar store. Days later the pools of glue dry and the get hung up.
He drummed with the water container that still needs filling. Water storage is not my forte. Nor is remembering to take the container with me to the store to get it filled. (sigh)
And one morning over oatmeal he says "Let's make a paper chain... like Mister Rogers." And so began the massive chain which now loops across the dining room and kitchen... and the horrendous amounts of paper scraps and craft 'stuff' lying all over the table/counter. When infected with the creation-with-paper bug (along with a real virus bug), clearing the table for anything - let alone dinner- feels like a dastardly chore. So we ate amongst black-bean-glued papers (guarding them from any drops of tomato sauce) and felt a few spurs of salt here and there. All were sick. All too tired to care.
The happy side? After months of no major art projects/creations, we've made up for it with a week of being quarantined... and surprisingly for me, well ahead of the upcoming holiday! All in all, we're getting over being sick finally, the adoption at the moment was apparently wrong, but we're all moving towards happiness in just being a family, living the gospel, creating our own adventures to remember when rough craft days are upon us.