It was the week Z was leaving to be reunited with his mom and two siblings. We had a party so our extended family would have a chance to say goodbye.
The love and support they give us and the children in this foster care journey is both humbling and overwhelming. Its kind of a crazy way to do life, but they all jumped in and took Z on as one of their own from the start.
Our first official "all meals at the new house" day. The kids found some chocolate cereal that Thomas had left. I don't buy it ever, so they were enjoying!
I really DO look like him!!
Micah came to help at the house, so Aiden and Alayna kept themselves busy painting while I primed windows next to them.
It was hilarious to hear their little conversations (they are just two months apart). They talked about school starting and debated who was bigger, among other things.
When we got inside, Alayna was insistent that she wanted to give the duct tape back. Ever so contritely, she apologized to the cashier for taking the tape. :)
I took pictures at a pastor's conference and then I picked up R from a life skills class he'd done. They each made a collage...this was my favorite.
Last fire with Z. As a seasoned boy scout, we assumed R knew something about camp fires. He does not. Shaun is so awesome with the boys, giving them enough space to safely try things on their own, and then gently stepping in to methodically teach and correct, ever the picture of patience and control.
Not sure if you can see it in the pic, but they'd made a nice teepee, with the big logs on the bottom and the kindling on the top. :)
His mercies are new every morning.
R and I did a dump run and HD that took a while, so when we got back it was nearly time for Z to go. Since the social worker had done a poor job of communicating, I had made an appointment to get R registered for his classes that were starting Monday. I said a quick goodbye to Z before we were out the door, late to our appointment, so Shaun was the only one home when the social worker came to pick him up.
He had a "closing arguments" type of conversation with him, summing up what he'd learned in his time with us about doing the right thing and being a man.
When I returned two hours later, I desperately wanted to go out with Shaun and download everything. But such is NOT the way of things right now. Shaun found me in the room I was working and we sat together for a few minutes.
The lack of normalcy in our lives has become highly frustrating and such was the case this day. Who says goodbye to their first ever foster child of 1.5 years, then hops in the car to sit with a crazy-lady guidance counselor for the next two hours with another foster child, then comes back and picks scraps of wallpaper off the walls to ready another bedroom in the house we've been non-stop renovating for the last nearly five months.
It was just about too much.
The next day dawned bright and beautiful but I was depleted. After a little cry with Shaun, I was out the door for an 8 AM engagement shoot. My first at an apple orchard!
Then I was off to shoot a beautiful backyard wedding.
Photo shoots and weddings are draining, because you have to be "on", but the change of scenery and being out with people was actually refreshing to me.
Shaun and I are doing well and quite frankly, our overriding emotion is relief that its over. It was a too long reunification process that got ugly at the end. The kids are good and honestly haven't seemed to skip a beat.
Z will forever be in our prayers and I trust that, down the road, God will use the things he observed and learned while living in our house.