Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Jen on Jen...

Hi my first day of school was Ok :) My new friends are Bobbi,Emilia,Jessica and TJ. On my first day of school they invited me to sit by them. I really liked it.I really like it in ARIZONA :). I really miss my friends in DC. I miss my mom and Paulette alotttttttttttttt.I think that my new parents are wierd and crazy but I like them a lottttttttttttttttttttttttttttttt.I really like Alaina,my new big sister.
Love,Jennifer Rene Bumm (Kristina) get it bumm like a bumm on your butt but that is so COOL DUDES ROCK ON

Different...in a good way

Ty sending her off to school

Today was Jen's first day at her new school.She was scared but survived.She was in a really great mood when she got home and said she made friends. I asked her how it compared to her old school and she said it was VERY different but in a good way.Tonight we went shopping for new clothes which was semi-successful. Her and Alaina tried on about 50 things and walked away with about 6.But they assured me that it was fine because we have 2 weeks of break coming up which gives us plenty of time to shop!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

WE MATCH


We had a last minute family home evening which consisted of a short story that I opened up to in the Friend magazine. As I began reading the story,going along with the tradition of crazy,divine coincidences,the story was about our family! It was about a little black girl who was told by a boy at school that she didn't have a real family because she didn't look like them (they were white and had adopted her).The family went on to talk about how a family "matches" because they love each other not because of how they look.All of our kids identified with this story since we have 4 different races of children living here.We went on to play games and watch the video of Jen and Paulette on the blog.It was one of the best FHE's we've had in a long time!

half time

our friend tomicah (a fRuncle) said that jen's leaving was kinda like halftime in a really really important game and that we were winning. it makes really good sense.

paulette has been so sweet and fun the last 24 hours, and that has made all of this a million times easier. i have been weepy and lindsay has been grumpy. so thank goodness paulette is holding the fRamily together.

yesterday was a disaster. i got really stressful news at work, a couple of times. bobbie called in a full panic because the az attorney we were about to retain called her and hassled her point of tears. they indicated that she had jen illegally and that she could be charged with kidnapping. That bobbie and mark needed to get in the office straightaway.

I am miffed for a number of reasons. Nonetheleast of which is that bobbie and mark are not their clients we are and they only even know their contact info because they asked us to send all of that info to them so that they could get a form prepared, only to send a template of a form. I was steaming mad! they were fired.

i talked bobbie down from that panic and indicated that all the forms we had were totally right and that those lawyers were fired and that we would be finding a new lawyer to help etc.

then i got an email from blair (the girls therapist) tell us that paulette was "not at school today". lindsay had taken her to school and watched her go into the building. there was a flurry of activity only to learn that she was out getting her eyes checked...arg.

it was seriously so up and down and stressful.

we had decided that we were all going to change paulette's room around, but screwed that up and just did it in a hurray without paulette (which i regret). but her new room is much nicer and seems about 100x's bigger.

introduction to the new room

sweet pose


we did talk a lot about jen. telling funny jennifer stories and laughing at jennifer antics. she is really missed.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

she's gone

jennifer left today.

it was an emotional day. selfishly it was sad. it also felt like we were watching the Lord part the red sea. such an incredible miracle. and then there is this anticipation about who jennifer is going to become. she is really so in love with mark and bobbie (though it is clear she will be a daddy's girl).

lindsay and i woke up early to get jen packed while the girls slept. i was making too much noise sneaking stuff out of their room that eventally jen woke up.

my bags are packed...i am leaving on a jetplane, don't know when i'll be back again

jen wrote very sweet notes to us saying thanks for all that we had done for her and for letting her stay with us. and telling us she loved us. they were really sweet and i think i cried about 5 times before i even left for church. she was not really letting herself cry, but once when i was crying she asked me why and i told her because she was leaving and i was going to miss her. she teared up then, but really didn't let herself cry the whole day.

getting ready for church
how cute are these girls
please note paulette's nails...


i am lucky because i will get to see jen over the holidays and any other time i go home. which is super awesome for me. m&b are going to post photos and little stories on the blog. so i think raisingdc will be a way for the 4 of us to keep in touch with each other. and probably not all that interesting for everyone else.

at church mark was asked to give a short talk. it was so touching to hear this big tough looking guy explain his love for his kids and his gratitude for jen. he talked about how he never imagined that he would have 7 kids, that he didn't think he could do something like that. "but the more kids i have, the happier i am".

cuddles and kisses on the sofa

the fRamily on the way to airport

jen as a blowfish at the airport

one the way to the gate

jen leading the pack

the happy family

fighting back tears

really fighting them back.
they are so dang cute

her last farwell


there is no such place as far away. we will miss jen, but she is part of us and we are part of her. we are excited to see what these girls become.

we love you jennifer! we miss you lots. (paulette is sleeping in your bed tonight.)
love,
your fRamily

Saturday, September 23, 2006

whirling dervish of emotions

wow! what an incredible day.

we had blair the girls therapist over for breakfast to meet bobbie and mark. i regret not taking a photo of jen and blair. it was an awesome morning and wonderful way to start the day. which was planned to be a really big day.

then we talked to kviti, our awesome lawyer, to make sure we were doing all the right things. and then headed over to shelia's to introduce her to mark and bobbie and get her to sign custody of jennifer over to them. NERVE RACKING. and i know her

on the way to the nursing home

shelia wouldn't talk to m & b at first and then repeatedly said (probably 10 times), in a very forceful tone: "you are NOT going to adopt my daughter". lindsay and i expected this, but i could see that it was really unsettling to m & b.

we went outside and had a longer conversation.

shelia explained that she was the mother and was really concerned that m&b had sent jennifer a letter and not her. "i am the mother and the letter should come to me. i make the decisions" she then asked them why in the world would they want to have so many kids, and why jennifer. m&b handled this with poise and grace, explaining that they feel like this is what they can do for the world and they have a lot of love to give. they also talked about how much they wanted to meet shelia because they love jennifer and knew that whoever was her mom must be an awesome person. i could tell shelia was starting to develop a little crush on mark. she said some really crazy stuff. and then asked them if they minded if jennifer called them mom and dad. when she learned that it was her and jennifer's decision she gave her permission. she then pointed to bobbie and asked jennifer "who is that?" jen would not answer and looked so on the spot.
she finally said "i am afraid to say it."
"don't be afraid baby, who is that"
"mom?"
"that's right" pointing to mark "and who is that?"
"dad"
"you have my permission to move to arizona"

then it was one big happy family

i am pretty sure the burger king made the trip easier

momma and baby
(who incidentally is much taller than her mom now)

we were all pretty exhausted after than, so we went and ate potbelly's. then m&b and jennifer and linZ went to arlington cemetery and paulette and i went to my ultimate frisbee game (we won). then to the going away party at sarah and tomicah (who get the gold medal of friendship bar none for this weekend and saving us from every other crisis or bind)


it looks more riotous than it was

mike, scott and chuck

sarah, eli, and lashaun

jen started crying. the friends that she wanted to come
weren't able to come. but i think all the goodbyes really started getting to her
our congregation is really like a family
especially for these girls.
it must have been really really hard to say goodbye.
it was nice to see her go to her dad for comfort.
paulette was super sister once again and got mimi and brought her over.

kimber and liz

linds and ginny

once the party was over the girls went over to liz and mike's and we went shopping for souvenirs. score! then to five guys (best hamburgers in dc) and then for a tour of the monuments.

i love ny...whatev

i don't think it is ironic that we ended up at this guys feet.

then we learned some conspiracy theories from mark. taught lindsay about area 51. and got home exhausted.

the girls were super exhausted, so they of course got into a fight about pencils. it ended in paulette punching jen in the back and lindsay jumping out of bed to contain the situation. no matter what sisters are sisters.

it has been a real emotional day. i am amazed that God put us all together. from linday and i being called to be shelia's visiting teachers. and lindsay and i feeling after our first visit that our primary duty was to the girls. to mikki desiring to hear the quite promptings of the holy ghost and be more willing to do something about what she hears and her feeling so compelled to talk to bobbie. i mean there are a million pieces to this puzzle that would be hard to fit together if you weren't omniscient and omnipotent.

it is miraculous. i am really excited for jen. i am really sad for me, because i really do love spending time with jen and it is going to feel really really weird not to have jennifer here with us. she often kicks off the silliness that i love so much about our fRamily. i dread tomorrow, but i am also really excited for jen.

i do feel like this separation is actually going to strengthen the girls relationship. i am too tired. i hope to come back and be more detailed and a more intersting writer, but for now, i just want to get all this stuff out.

what a day

i have been up for way too long. so much has happened in the last 18 hours it is uncanny. i feel like the baton has been passed to mark and bobbie. it is really amazing. i have to say that i am really really impressed by the way paulette is handling all of this. she is polite and outwardly focused. she is fulfilling the role of a big sister in a really heartfelt and tender way. tonight was her turn to pray. she rendered the sweetest, thoughtful, selfless prayer i have ever heard. i tear up just thinking about it. mostly that jen would know that mark and bobbie love her and that we all love her, and that she is never alone and that we are always here for her. she was grateful to get to know them better and hopeful that someday soon she could have her day like this. i give a hearty amen to all that she said, it was incredibly beautiful.

today has been a rollercoaster of nerves, tears, and happiness. the more i get to know mark and bobbie the more perfect they become. i just can't believe that we all found each other.


mark and bobbie arrived at 7:am. we ate at eastern market and went through "the binder". later in the day we went to the school for songfest (which was awesome, and became the third thing of the day that made me cry). it was so clear that all of her classmates and teachers will miss jen! which made me miss jen too.

jen saying goodbye to her principal and teacher

saying goodbye to friends

sisters and a principal


leaving sarah's on our way to hopkins (the old homestead)


saying good-bye to hopkins and louis
louis has always been an awesome friend to this family

then we all went to dinner and toured around dc
my "say i love bush" caused quite a guffaw from bobbie
schwew


by the time we got home everyone was exhausted
i took a bath and missed the "slumber party in lindsay's bed" memo
they slept like this all night

Friday, September 22, 2006

going out with a yippee kai yay

last night we had our last unencumbered fRamily pizza party. actually, it is not our last, but just our last where we all live together. i hope that for years we will get together and make pizza and play the way we did last night. bobbie and mark arrive in just a couple of hours. the house is dead quite, and i am awake anxious so i figured i should post something from last night.

we have been wanting to have some real 2 on 2 time with the girls but i think paulette was nervous and wanting to avoid it. on tuesday we were all going to go to sushi (something both girls have wanted to do for over a year). paulette kinda sketched out so we gave her a choice. she choose to hang out with her friends. she missed this:
we love you sakana
and jen of course

spicy tuna


so last night we forced her. lindsay and jen got paulette from the church and went directly to safeway to buy some pizza stuff.
pre-pizza planning with the crazys

we made a couple of signature pizzas and then planned on playing rummikub but then this happened:



i like to call this: follow the prophet dancefest. but i really think we should have a contest to see who can come up with the best name.


on a completely different note, jen has decided to change her name in light of all the other transitions. she kinda likes the idea of kristina, but will probably settle on jenny.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

ARIZONA!!!!!!!!!!!!:):):)

I went to arizona and I had the most fun time of my life. We rode quads and we were suppose to go swimming but it got cancled. I was so sad that they said that it got cancled,but we went quad riding again that was my weekend at arizona.




peace out dudes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

-- jen (if you couldn't tell)

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

sometimes dreams do come true

Dreams do come true. In this case, this is so out there that I don't think Jen's wildest dreams looked like this. But it does seem like an answered prayer (most probably the answer to many many prayers.)


jen's clothes laid out the night before meeting mark and bobbie.
please note the readiness of those rykas

driving to mark and bobbie's
she was talking 100 miles a minute
giggling the whole way


The trip went exceedingly well. This family is so perfect for Jen it is crazy. It is really unbelievable. (I am starting to wonder if this type of desperation is needed to find a husband.) They are perfect in ways that we would have never even considered as necessary. Their manner, priorities, attitude fit her needs and wants so perfectly. Jen was shy at first, but even in her shiest moments it was clear that she had decided that this was what she wanted. Before we left Jen with Mark and Bobbie the four of us explained to Jen that this was her decision to make. She had choice and voice to decide if she wanted to live in Arizona, with Mark and Bobbie and the rest of their clan. That if she didn’t want to do this she could tell us and we would call it quits. Her response: “i would never do that!” My guess is that she decided to live there when she read the letter they wrote to her.

checking out the toys in the back yard

bonding with bobbie

She spent the weekend with them. She rode bikes, feed horses and goats, road quads (4-wheeled motorcycles), stayed up late with Alena (the 12 year old sister talking about silly stuff), played x-box, had sodas and hamburgers. She was loving her life.

We went over for a BBQ with all the kids and the grandparents. It was so fun and amazing. This family is so full of love and support, but so normal all the same. The grandparents are incredibly kind and welcoming (and clearly proud of the children they raised). There is a keen focus on family and a real value in spending time with each other.

jen and brother ty

the happy family


Jen took us on harrowing quad rides (I thought I might die…she told me it was only far because she has had to drive with me for years – true). I think she really enjoyed introducing us into this new world. Stay tuned for those photos.

We saw Jen again at church on Sunday. I think that was much trickier for her. She was straddling two worlds and not sure where her allegiance was. Who was “mom”, who was friend? It was understandably confusing. It was also the Primary Program Sunday when all of the children from the congregation sing and present little speeches for the worship service. There were about 100 children (where is in our congregation there are typically about 6). Most of the 100 had memorized their talks and knew the songs. Which is quit different from our congregation on capital hill. I think she might have been intimidated and the situation was confusing.

But all that cleared up when she came to where we were staying to get dropped off to come to the airport. She was kinda disheveled and resistant to going, and clearly excited to know that she would be coming back “home” so soon.

The plan is now that Mark and Bobbie will come to DC on Friday. They will stay for the weekend and then return to Arizona with Jennifer on Sunday. This is all contingent on us getting the legal stuff worked out. Our lovely lawyer is working to expedite all of the document signing and making sure that we comply with AZ law.

So please keep your fingers crossed or your prayers coming (or both) whatever suits you best. We need all the divine help and luck we can get.

bobbie and jen riding off into the sunset
(actually to go feed some goats and horses and then a minor crash
jen's not a strong cyclist . . . yet)

Friday, September 15, 2006

arrival in the arid-zone

we miraculously made it to arizona. every step of the way felt like we wouldn't make it. the 30 minute trip to the airport took 1.5hours (weird traffic and some weather). we were able to check the bags curbside, park the car, get our boarding passes, get through security and a turkey sandwich for jen all within 15 minutes.
making it to the gate, sandwich in hand

(we forgot to get food for me and lindsay which meant a little bit of grumpiness until the delta snacks came around). then the ground crew was having some significant understaffing issues and we were delayed for about 40 minutes. then they announced the time we would arrive in atlanta we realized we had 15 minutes to get to our next flight (and don't forget we are hungry). that flight was delayed (i have never been more pleased to have a flight delayed). and we made it. a bit travel worn and exhausted.

tomorrrow is the big day. jen is excited. i don't think that she had much of an idea of what arizona was until we showed her some photos in the in-flight magazine. we talked about how hot and dry arizona was, which precipitated the "i am hot", "my lips are so chapped", "it is so dry", "there is no water here" mantra as we arrived into sky harbor and all the way to gilbert. hopefully she will aclimate.

jen on the phone with bobbie as we land in atlanta


she is super excited about tomorrow. a friend at school asked her if she was coming back today. jen told her she didn't know, but she didn't want to return. i think jen was pleased that her friend told her she had to come back.

i keep thinking about what a gianormous change this is/will be for her. i really can't even imagine what she is going through. it seems not to really be affecting her. she is clearly ready for a big change. she wants a fresh new start. and she wants to be in a place where it is more "normal" to be mormon. she really wants brothers and sisters who she can take care of. and she really wants to be able to call her female caretaker mommy and to have a daddy in the house too. i really really really hope this is the answer that it seems like it might be.

so here is to tomorrow.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Ode in D

yesterday was our dear fRauntie (fRaunt is to a aunt what a fRamily is to a family) dianna's birthday. we intended to get the ode out then, but had too many mishaps and breakdowns to get to our computers. but better late than never. here is a quick tribute to fRaunt D!


not long ago our brave, dependible (though not always timely), beloved D left the fRamily for this man.

now at face value anyone would say...NOT WORTH IT. but this man is d's translator while she is on assignment in baghdad for NPR.

d is the source of most of the sanity that remains in this humble abode of ours. and when the sanity seems lost forever, d always knows where to find it (bike rides, hair cuts, rummikube, lightheartedness, perspective, grace).

we are very proud of the work she is doing. blessed to have such a wonderful, compassionate, sunshinny friend. we love you heaps and miss you too much.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY-- webdings for

HAPPY BIRTHDAY --(this is the georgia font)



Wednesday, September 13, 2006

girls were found

and not long after i posted...

i had a pretty intense conversation with the girl's principal this afternoon. she called to tell me that she (and others at the school) were VERY concerned that we were splitting the girls up. she said it just seemed really sad that the girls would have to be split us just because a proper family willing to take them both hadn't been found on our time frame. i explained the reasons for the girls being split and she wouldn't really listen. she made me feel like a colonial oppressor. she explained that the office manager at the school is willing to take the girls and adopt them. i was surprised and grateful for the amazing level of kindness and openness but explained there is one non-negotiable criteria -- that the family be mormon. this is not a criterion made up by Kimberly and lindsay but by all 5 of the people most intimately involved (mom, girls, guardians)

i then explained again how it is clear that the girls being separated is the best thing. it is heartbreaking in some regards, but i am over that. both girls are excited (though rightfully sad at times) and it is clear that they want a fresh start. they are viewing this like they are going to different boarding schools. they will remain, of course, sisters. and the family in AZ taking jen is completely supportive of the girls maintaining a relationship. but this is about them getting over the years of abuse and neglect they have suffered. she would have none of it. it was frustrating to say the least.

then i needed to talked to her about the afterschool program that the girls were in last year. this year they are not allowing paulette to be there because she is not struggling academically. so paulette is done with school at 5 and jen is done at 6. it makes afterschool and having a full time job impossible. we need them done at the same time. so the principal explained that they would both NOT be able to participate. so...i rushed home to great them at 5:20...they didn't get home until about 6:45 because jen stayed in the after school program and paulette waited. then they made their daily stop at "the sev" for fire hot cheetos, which is horrible, but i always soften because they share them with me and they are totally delicious. so...they hadn't run away or gotten into too much mischief. but i was fuming mad at that principal.

i am sure she just forgot the conversation was not a smooth one. but it was just kinda frustrating (to say the least)

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

oops we spoke too soon

this maybe should be called "hell no they can't go"or even "so much for jesus"

earlier today lindsay posted our amazing experience with the girls mom. well, that has all been changed. after thinking about it and confering with her husband (who lives in a seperate nursing home across town with severe mental and emotional handicaps) they decided that the girls were not allowed to go on vacation to utah (where did they get this idea??!!!).

the girls are missing. i left work in a rush to get home so that someone would be here when they got home. they have been out of school for 1hour and 25 minutes now. i guess i won't make it to frisbee practice afterall.

we have had a feeling that this was going to get ugly at some point. i keep waiting for it to strike. maybe it is right now? who knows. i am nervous and tired.

Surprised

Our conversation with Sheila went better than any of us expected. We approached her with a reminder that we have been happy to help take care of the girls while she is unable to do so and telling her again that we cannot keep the girls permanently. We explained that we have been looking for other families in our church who would be able and willing to take care of the girls, and that we have found a family who wants to take care of Jennifer. We used the "g" word (guardianship), and she, several times, repeated her resistance to the "a" word. ("I'm not giving my girls up for adoption" she said, with us assuring her that we were talking about guardianship at this point and that our desire was to find a way to ensure that someone would be able to take care of the girls while she could not.)

Initially resistant to the idea of separating the girls and of sending Jennifer far away, she at first focused on the question of how Jen would be able to continue to attend KIPP School while living with this family. At one point she answered her own question by guessing that Jen would have to "commute." We tried to impress upon her that Arizona was too far away for Jen to commute to school, and that there would be very good schools there for Jen to attend. (A fact that Jen has already discussed in great detail with the family). In Arizona, we emphasized, Jen would be cared for by friends of Kimberly's and members of our church who loved children and had already warmed to Jennifer. We told Sheila that we would be taking Jennifer to meet the family this weekend.

We explained that we had prayed and felt really good about the decision. That so many people had also prayed with us, that we are pretty convinced that this is God's will. We told her that we understand why she may not feel great right off, but asked her to pray about it and that we could continue to talk. She apparently decided that prayer was expedient. Hushed us. Bowed her head and began a mumbled, personal prayer. After about a minute, she lifted her head and made a modified version of the sign of the cross (more in a circle with a kiss of her fingers and a flick of the wrist) and said that she wasn't "getting anything". (it is remarkable that she expects such answers. I wonder if I expected direct communication what would happen?? I am WAY too cynical) So we talked about spending more time in meditation and prayer when she was alone and their weren't T.V.s blaring in the background.

Sheila asked how Jen was feeling about all of this. Jennifer came into her mother's room at that point and told her mom that she was feeling "ok" and "good" about the idea. She showed her mother the letter she had received from the family inviting her to come and live with them, and shared the pictures of the family. Sheila read the letter with great interest and looked very closely at the pictures. She said repeatedly, "they sound like nice people." And then added, "but I want to meet them so I can know for sure." We assured her that this would be the case. Paulette, bravely, also chimed in support of the plan; telling her mother how much she wanted her own new home (for some reason, she is fixated on going to Salt Lake City, Utah) and how important this was to Jen.

Ultimately, Sheila did agree to sign a document consenting to giving guardianship for Jennifer to Mark and Bobbie. At one moment in the middle of someone's sentence Shelia hushed the group again. Bowed her head and listened intently. Then looked at us all and said that Jesus had spoken and it was okay for Jennifer to go. After her mother said this would be okay, Jennifer burst into tears--I think in part because she had been so worried that her mother might say no. Sheila wants to meet them to make sure they are as nice as they look, but she said several times that it would be okay for the family to take care of Jen. We explained that we had hired an attorney who could prepare the paperwork, and help us to make sure that everything was done in a legal, right way, and she seemed to understand that as well.

Frankly, all of us (Kimberly and I, as well as both of the girls) were a bit surprised at the ease and outcome of this conversation. Now the questions are about how--and how quickly--to proceed?

Monday, September 11, 2006

tonight

tonight the grown ups and the girls are going to shelia's (mom) to tell her that the girls are going to live in different places with different family. and that they will be moving very far away. we hope that she will understand!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

solutions coming into view

as mentioned earlier, things are moving at mach speed. in fact so many amazing things have happened in the last couple of weeks, that it is really hard to capture it in a small blog posting. i am sure at some point lindsay and i will discipline ourselves and write a book about this experience.

two weeks ago (25 Aug) i sent an email to my close friends and family outside of DC. the situation felt desperate and lindsay and i both knew that we needed to quickly get the girls a home. they needed stability and incredible amounts of attention. a very close friend (practically a sister) mikki responded by calling a friend from her congregation. to make a long, beautiful and incredibly spiritual story short, this family believes that they are the family for jennifer.

it is a bittersweet discovery. we had decided that the girls would stay together at all costs. but after four intense months it has become clear that the girls need different things. we were looking for a place that could provide both girls what they need, but i think we could look for years and still not really help them. and though fRamilies are wonderful. they are temporary and only a backfill for families. the truth is, splitting the girls is what is really best for them and we have felt that deep down for awhile.

we told the girls in separate conversations, we think we found the home for jennifer and that we (lindsay, kimberly, and jennifer) are going to visit the family next weekend. the story of finding this family is miraculous and worth sharing. stay tuned hopefully we will get it all out here at some point. suffice it to say that we couldn't feel better and believe that this is exactly what Heavenly Father has in store for jen.

we are still looking for paulette's home. we trust that when the time is right the Lord will provide that home for her. we also feel strongly that the home for paulette is somewhere in the first few degrees of separation from us. so please pray for paulette and pray that we will be able to find her a family. if as you read and/or pray about this that you will share the paulette's story with families who may be missing a beautiful, intelligent, and injured little girl.

paulette needs a family where she will be able to get a heap of one-on-one attention. where she will learn that she is a wonderful, good person and undo some of the false messaging her abusive aunt and dysfunctional mother communicated to her. she has been severely abused has a really hard time bonding with people. when she gets close she pushes them away. she has all of the potential in the world. we know that with the love of a happy and caring family, she will become an amazing powerful force for good. she is a natural advocate and passionate. she will bring to the world a wonderful perspective on society and truth. given the right opportunities we have no doubt that she will make the world a better place. so, if you know any particularly special families who would like a beautiful, but troubled young woman, please let us know.

though we are loathe to ask this next favor, we feel like we need to. we have been admonished not to let this hurt us financially. and the ward has been incredibly generous in paying all of the girls' food, clothes, medical care, etc. we know that this has been a sacrifice and we do not want to make light of all that has already been given. the legal issues surrounding this situation are sticky at best and very complicated. we have retained a lawyer to make the interstate
adoption possible, to figure out the relinquishment or termination of parental rights, etc. the ward/Church is not at liberty to participate in financing such action, which completely makes sense. but it means that we are going to have to ask people to help the girls in a non--tax deductible way. so, if you know any people of means who might be willing to help us pay for legal fees, that would also be awesome. we have a paypal account for the girls listed posted on this blog, which we hope will make any donation easier. (though they take 2.5% of anything given. if you want to use paypal click the "make a donation button" on the right of the screen). if you would like to avoid paypal, please email us at raisingdc@gmail.com and we will send you an address where you can reach us. we feel really ridiculous asking, but feel like we must.

what we need most though are prayers. all four of us need the help of the Lord. and we appreciate all of the prayers that have been offered on our behalf. and we appreciate all of the spontaneous service you have rendered our "fRamily".

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

what happens after the water boils?

after reaching a boiling point with paulette, i think we have safely come up with a pretty good solution. as mentioned earlier, the girls came home from atlanta begrudgingly. they wanted to stay desperately. of course! DC represented school, chores, and lots of bad memories. we expected a difficult reentry. they both we cranky for the first few days. but paulette just never snapped out of it. she made it clear that she didn't like living with us or even like us. she felt she had "no childhood" here. we were beside ourselves trying to figure out what to do.

our friends mcaurthur and cheryl came to the rescue. they both invited paulette to stay with them for a couple of weeks. we talked to paulette and let her know that we love her and hope that she willat some point (soon) choose to stay with us, but that she could choose what she thought was best for her. so for now she is staying with mcaurthur. she will be there until next monday. if she still doesn't want to come back then, she will go to cheryl's. if she still doesn't want to come back, i don't know what we will do. hopefully a solution will present itself.

it feels really good to let her make and live her decisions. i think we were trying to hard to fix all that was broken, and paulette really didn't want some of it fixed and probably doesn't see it as broken. it feels good for the onus to be on paulette to make the changes she wants. to not try and help her more than she wants help. and to set her free. i hope that this is what she needs and that it will help her to feel better.

Friday, September 01, 2006

meeting with school

this morning lindsay and i had a 7:am meeting with the school regarding paulette. 7:am in the midst of ernesto was a bit rough, but the meeting was helpful. it was clear that the teachers did not understand the situation and the reason the girls were with us. it was also nice to be validated that many of the concerns we have for paulette are shared by the school.

we are excited because the school is going to make some changes in seating and such to facilitate paulette making some positive friends. additionally she is going to be added to the soccer teams roster. i can think of nothing better for these girls than a team sport. so i am excited for paulette.

later today we have a meeting with a lawyer that we think we may be retaining. we clearly need a lawyer. we are nervous about the financial ramifications of retaining a lawyer, but see no way to negotiate all these complicated legal questions without one.

the girls will be with our friend McArthur for the weekend, which will be a wonderful break for us. we are all super exhausted. none of us have been sleeping. due to either behaviour that requires a late night intervention, late night conversations, or just the sleeplessness that comes from stress and worry. i am hoping that this labor day and i can do no labor and recuperate.

the girls are finding real solace in their spirituality lately and it is really a beautiful thing to watch develop. they know big changes are ahead. i am sure that they are being prepared. we, the grown ups, are not really sure how this is going to end. it does seem like we are beginning to get a better picture of what might be needed. i am sure this will be difficult and heartrending. but i am also sure that in the end it will be worth it.