Saturday, March 29, 2014

It's a Girl!

Monday I had to head to the OBGYN for my annual exam and to discuss what testing he suggested in light of the recent melanoma diagnosis. It went well....aside from the fact that he came in and said, "hey, your blood pressure is a little high which isn't normal for you, are you doing ok?" And the floodgates broke. I am sure he is very used to dealing with hormonal and emotional women, but the poor man had to endure a blubbering me. He was wonderful and compassionate just as he's always been when dealing with me and all that life has dealt.

I got out to the van where Howard and the kids were waiting to pick me up and take me to dinner. As I got in the van I got a text. It was from our foster daughter's caseworker. She said she had just gotten the judge's report and that the judge chose us to adopt our sweet girl! I was elated and immediately began texting everyone who'd been praying and posted to Facebook. In a moment of excitement I'd forgotten the previous post had been an Instagram photo of the gorgeous view of Lake Erie from my OB's office....then about a half an hour later I post "It's a girl". LOL

I confused a few people. All that to say, my uterus is fine but all done having babies we however, Lord willing, will be officially welcoming a 19 month old little girl into our family within the next month or so!

Thank you all for praying! So grateful for each and every one of you.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

This is JUST Skin Cancer

Several months ago I went to the doctor to have him look at a mole. It had changed a bit but was still relatively regular looking, he said it was nothing to worry about. I had a nagging feeling it was. This is the result of a wide excision to rid my body of melanoma. The mole was no bigger than the eraser on a pencil.

People seem to think that melanoma is nothing really to worry about. They joke using #melanomahereicome as they bake their skin on spring break not realizing that every hour someone dies of melanoma. Melanoma doesn't discriminate and it is as much a young person's disease as it is an older person's disease. Children die of melanoma. One in fifty people will battle this beast.

My cancer they say was found relatively early, but it was aggressive. I will have quarterly appointments with a dermatologist and oncologist. I will have blood tests and x rays. We will be actively watching for any evidence the beast might return. I am trusting the Lord in all of it and doing all I can to take care of my body, but skin cancer, melanoma, IS cancer. It is deadly.

I say all of this because I want you to learn from my mistakes. I want you to take care of your skin. I want you to look at what chemicals you are putting in and on your body and what nutrition your body might be lacking. I don't think sun is bad. We NEED sun, but be responsible. Don't burn. Encourage loved ones to get their skin checked regularly and if ANYTHING seems out of ordinary...get it checked. When caught early, melanoma is VERY the late is often fatal. It doesn't respond to treatments the way other cancers do. It is a sneaky cancer that spreads quickly.

Melanoma isn't to be taken lightly. It isn't something you just remove and forget is a lifelong battle. I intend to fight it, and I pray you don't have to, but ignorance could be deadly so PLEASE see your doctor...know your body and don't be afraid to be your own advocate!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

No Word

I just wanted to take a minute and thank you ALL for your prayers for our foster girl and for our family. Court was long and exhausting on Friday and the judge did not rule yet. We should hear by the end of the week and I will keep you posted as to what he decides. We are praying and trusting God, knowing He loves her more than we can even imagine.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Court Hearing Tomorrow

I've spent the past few afternoons as I continue to recover from surgery on the phone with our attorney and the foster agency attorney preparing for a court hearing tomorrow. Our sweet foster girl has been with us since September of 2012. She was reunited with her family for about six weeks between October and November and has been with us ever since. Nothing is new in her case it has pretty much been the same old same old for months. We petitioned to adopt her back in October and some family members decided to contest.

I believe wholeheartedly in trying to keep biological families connected. That was why we went into fostering. It was always my hope to be able to help families reunite and get back on their feet, yet in this case that hasn't been possible. It has made me heart sick. I am so grateful that we have an open and positive relationship with Jacob's biological family. I'd love for this sweet one to have the same thing but I am not sure that is in store for her.

At any rate, tomorrow we go to court and the judge will decide where our girl spends the rest of her growing years. I have peace. I know this decision is not mine to make and that He loves her more than I ever could and that He will do what is best for her and while we love her like our own and will be heartbroken to see her go, I know He is in control. I do not know much about her bio family beyond her parents and I know He does. She's been our little sunshine for about a year and a half...basically her whole life, but today as I prepare myself for court, I am reminded that none of our children are truly our own. They each belong to God and while I don't always understand what he is doing, I rest in knowing He knows what is best for each of them and for me.

Ultimately, this isn't about me. Foster parenting isn't. It is about being obedient to what God called us to and I know we've done that so I can rest in knowing that. What happens from here isn't for me to control. He owes us nothing. Our hearts may well break into a million pieces, but that is what we signed up for. We are here and willing to be her family forever if He'd bless us with this baby girl, but we also know that there are others who have biological connections and we know nothing about them to say we know what is best. We will play whatever role he calls us to and we will love her forever.

Sometimes I sit and I look at my life, the story He is writing and I wonder how much more we can endure, but I know with every storm has come a depth, a love, and a closeness with Him that could have been attained no other way. Tomorrow morning we will go before a judge and promise to always love her and we will face the family members claiming they want the same. I have no idea what tomorrow holds, but I know Who holds tomorrow. Would you pray with me for the judge. That he would truly look at what is best for our sweet girl , whatever that is, and that He would soothe our hearts if that means it is not us. He knows what is best and I am fully confident that whatever decision is made, will be what is best.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

One of Those Days

Well it's been one of those days here at our home. Daylight Savings Time is a cruel joke and we've all been struggling to find our normal. The babies have been fighting a cold and I am still recovering from my melanoma surgery. I am feeling pretty good, but due to the fact that my wound is under tension (from the tissue they had to remove entirely) I still cannot lift over 10 pounds. I have two babies. One is 18 months and the other is 2 and both are over 20 pounds, so guess who has come to my rescue?

My 81 year old grandma. She's been here with me for the past two weeks or so and while it has been a humbling experience to ask my elderly grandma to do things for me, to lift the babies, change diapers put them to bed, etc, it has also been really nice having her here. She's amazing with my kids, and despite her age she can move and clean a house like nobody's business. She is the woman who raised me and as a kid I wasn't always so appreciative for all she did for us. I am grateful to have this chance with her now. She really is an amazing lady, and while I look forward to the day when I can lift my own babies again, I will miss her when she isn't here every day.

Back to today. The older three kids had a dental appointment this morning. I got up early, did my devotionals and ran downstairs to get a load of laundry going. On the way down the stairs I tripped on a pile of laundry and fell. After I sat and gathered myself I gave myself a once over and all was fine. I went in to Jacob's room to see why he was screaming, all the while hoping and praying Howard remembered to diaper him last night (story for another time). He had launched his pillow, blankets and stuffed animal out of the crib and was ready to get up. I asked Luke to get him up for me and put him on the changing table. I got him changed and Luke took him out to feed him breakfast.

Through blood, sweat and tears I got the other four children all ready brushed and flossed all teeth (albeit forgetting my own, GROSS I know), bags packed, grandma got here and we loaded up and headed on our way. The plan was to take the three inside for their cleanings and grandma would feed the babies their snack in the van while they waited.

Victoriously I pulled in to the dentist parking lot ten minutes early, proudly walked the kids in, hung up coats and told the receptionist our names....she looked at me strangely, which I've gotten more used to so I thought nothing of it until she said, "Um, Mrs. Bolte? Your appointment is tomorrow." I am sure she could see the look of sheer exhaustion in my face and she said, "Let me see what I can do". I waited and ultimately they offered to squeeze my three between patients but it could take a while to get them all done. I thanked them and turned to tell the kids I'd made a mistake. They took it well and I promised them lunch tomorrow. Guess today was a practice run. I won't say tears didn't fall as I climbed back into the van, tired, feeling defeated and sore, but I was quickly reminded that in the grand scheme, this was no big deal. It was an opportunity for a cup of coffee and TimBits for the kids. We enjoyed the sunny ride home and we'll do it all again tomorrow. :)

It's been a while since I've shared pictures so I thought I'd show you all how they've grown.

Choosing to count these sweet blessings today in spite of the rough day.  They sure do make each day brighter!