Saturday, November 21, 2015

What it means to be an adoptive mommy....

This weekend we had the great pleasure of meeting the new additions to our family. I had prepared myself for all sorts of emotions I may feel, but I mostly prepared myself for rejection. Although we have been learning and seeking after these boys since the end of 2014, they only found out the night before we met that they were getting adopted. I knew this would be the case and so I prepared myself to deal with the fact that the weekend may be awkward and hard and all around an emotional mess.

I couldn't have been more wrong.

These boys welcomed us with love and excitement. They talked about how excited they were to meet their other little brother and eventually to have a little sister. The oldest talked about how he had a baby sister who died in his bio-mom's tummy. They both had many stories...some tall tales, some horrifying, and others so painfully beautiful that my heart could hardly control the joy it felt to have these boys in my life.

But one thing was abundantly clear...

I am now the mom of two beautiful, wonderful, perfectly normal boys.

Here's what being an adoptive mommy means to me:

1. I have to share the role of mommy with many women... and that's okay!

I wondered if my love would feel stolen or if I would be jealous that they had called another by such a sacred title. I had marveled at how I would control my emotions if they didn't want to call me mom. But all of that changed when I met them. We had been guided to have them call us Mom and Dad from the get-go and both boys seemed quite okay with that, although the youngest struggled a little. He has lived with his current foster family for over half of his life and calls them Mom and Dad already. At first, my heart stung a little because I wanted him to love me, but as I grew to know his foster family, I realized there is no one better to share the role of mommy with! How grateful I am to them for raising my son in love and happiness. How blessed I am to know that he was loved!

2. I am not the perfect mom... and that's okay!!

It would be a lie to tell you that I have any clue as to how to raise these older boys. I can pretend pretty well and I have the basic ideas planned, but as for each day, I'm just winging it. And if I begin to think about it past the day I'm on, I think I'll drive myself crazy because I have no idea what the future holds. On the first day we met the boys I was so excited to let them have a fun time that I disregarded all previous parenting techniques. We had ice cream, cotton candy, and many other sweets. And we stayed up way too late and we let them run through mud puddles in their nice leather boots. And when I returned them to their foster home overly tired and crashing from a sugar high, I realized that I had failed basic parenting that day, but I had created memories that will hold true to the end. Needless to say, the next day we focused a little more on eating good meals and being home at a reasonable time! ;) And that day was fun too. I may not be perfect, but I do love these boys and I know that is really what matters.

The Road to Adoption

The Kansas Pouliot's have some pretty major announcements for you this year... many know that we are expecting a baby girl this November, but there is one secret we have been keeping until it was official... We are ADOPTING two boys!

Last November we went through a series of spiritual experiences that left us knowing that we needed to pursue adoption. Like any big decisions, this came with lots of prayer, research, and enormous amounts of humility. Adoption was not in our life plan, but we knew that God's plan for us included this adventure. And an adventure it has been.

After initial research we were pretty set on adopting through Foster Care. Initially I was a little intimidated to possibly get older children that had been through some pretty tragic lives already. I wasn't sure if I was capable of handling that, but the more we prayed and researched the more prompted we were that this was the right choice for us. Many people may not know but there are so many children in the system that are older and need a home. It is very difficult for these kids to be adopted simply because families tend to watch babies or young children. It is even harder if they belong to a sibling set.

Adopting starts with the decision, but the process is not something that happens quickly. There are many steps involved and a lot of paperwork. After we were sure we wanted to pursue adoption we signed up for a 10-week class that is mandatory for Kansas foster and adoptive parents. I must admit I wasn't too excited about these classes at first. The fact that our whole adoption process couldn't even begin until we were completed with this step killed me. (I'm not the most patient person.) But as we started going to class each week, I began loving what I was learning and soaking it up. These classes were not always easy and there were a few I left and cried the whole car ride home. The classes offer great parenting techniques, but it also teaches you how to handle children who have been through traumatic situations. To know how to handle them, you have to know what they might have gone through. Throughout the 10 weeks we discussed case-study after case-study of different children and it was repeated numerous times that although names had been changed, these were real children and real problems. 

It can truly break your heart to hear what these innocent little children have suffered. Even more heartbreaking is that a lot of the times their sorrows are avoidable. It took me a long time to reconcile my heart to take these tragedies and not turn bitter. The easy task is to assume that the parents are awful, horrible humans and to place that hate in your heart. But that hate only builds and projects onto the children and burdens you with the weight of hate. The much harder, but ultimately necessary, thing that I had to learn to do is to remember that the people that caused pain to those children are also children of God and that He loves them infinitely. It is not my job to judge; it is my job to love. So as I learn more and more about what my sweet boys have been through and I see their innocence, it is hard not to hold those hard feelings. But at the same time, I can't help but be eternally grateful for God's protection over these boys and even grateful for the circumstances that have led them into my life. 

While we were taking the class, we were allowed to "choose" the children we wanted to adopt. Its sad, but ultimately its like online shopping. We were allowed to narrow the search to children that fit our home, lifestyle, and other desires and then we could pick from there. After we had narrowed our search to the top few children, Michael and I decided to leave the matter to the Lord. We prayed to know who it was that belonged in our family and through many miracles we came to set our hearts upon two brothers, ages 8 and 11. Throughout the process it looked like we were paddling uphill to get these boys, but no matter what obstacle arose, the Lord provided a way for us to overcome it. In a dark moment, I cried to Michael telling him that it was impossible. The boys our hearts had already fallen in love with wouldn't be ours. He always assured me that if the Lord wanted us to have them, then we needed not be so easily discouraged and so easy to lose faith. It was then that my heart and faith completely committed to the cause of getting our boys. And determination pays off.

We completed the class and ENDLESS amounts of paperwork including an essay each about our lives that were 9 and 13 pages single spaced in length. I pity the people that had to plow through those! 

Next came the home assessments. I have never been so nervous for anything in my life. My mom came and helped clean (by that time I was throwing up every hour and wasn't really much help) and I made sure my house sparkled. Needless to say, the home assessor was so sweet and nice and spent most of the time sitting on our couch talking with us as if we were old friends. At the very end she did a quick walk-through of our home and left. She didn't open the oven, or the cupboards, or the baseboards all of which I (meaning mostly my mom) had meticulously cleaned. At least my house had a good spring cleaning! :) Thanks, Mom! 

And then began the waiting... we waited over a month for the report to be finalized and submitted and for a Best Interest Staffing to be scheduled. Best Interest Staffing (BIS) involves all of the boys case workers, our case worker, DCF workers and important people coming together to read our huge file and to determine if we would be allowed to parent the boys effectively and to decided if we would get them! We waited so impatiently for that day! We weren't allowed to attend, but my heart was there and I was just praying that they would know how much I had already come to love these two boys! And then we waited again... after the decision is made we were not allowed to be told until it was officiated through the Department of Children and Family (DCF). I thought the wait for the BIS was terrible. The wait for the decision was excruciating! I knew it would take around a month, but as the month grew closer and closer I got more and more useless. I couldn't do anything but stare at my phone and pray that it would ring. And then, today it did! We are so excited to finally be able to start to meeting and transition process. In just a few short weeks, we will have two new boys living in our house and creating lots of new experiences. We know there is a lot more work to do and steps to take, but it is such a relief to know that we will have been approved to be their parents. I pray that they will come to know just how much we love them and just how much we want to be their family! 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Pouliot Pets

Many of you may have seen on Facebook that for Christmas, I got this cutie:

Sadly, she had to go live on my dad's farm. The decision to let her go was a really hard one for me. Ask my husband. I was crying ball of crazy. There were many reasons we couldn't keep her, but the main one is that she just wasn't a good fit for our family. She was not very good with the baby (constantly tackling him and making him cry if he had food in his hands). Also, she was STINKY and DESTRUCTIVE and HATED being inside! She was a pig after all. She now lives on a farm with other animals and I think it is a good fit for her. We can still visit whenever we want, too.

Anyways, I was pretty upset because baby Michael adores animals. He just gravitates towards them and I really wanted him to have a pet. For the most part, though, I was turned off to the idea of a pet after the pig was such a disaster. My husband even more so since he hadn't wanted a pet at all. 

After some thinking and talking, we came to the conclusion that eventually we would get an outside dog (that comes inside sometimes). Well, eventually to me meant start looking on craigslist. I think my husband meant in 10 years. But then a family miracle happened. I found an outside border collie puppy for sale! This was a miracle because it is the ONE pet my husband LOVES! He grew up with a border collie named Ty and knew that it would be a great pet for our family. It didn't take 10 seconds for him to say yes.

So last night we drove to pick up the newest member of our family:

Meet Minnie! She is already a perfect fit for our family. Why?

1. She is super affectionate and gentle to everyone, especially the baby.
2. She is used to being outside, so no need to worry about that. Although she is coming inside these first few days for bonding.
3. My husband LOVES her and she loves him. This is key as the pig and my husband had a very rocky relationship which led to a lot of anger in our home.

Alright, so we got her yesterday and she "slept" in our bed last night. BIG MISTAKE! She didn't sleep at all. It was like we had a new baby. Only this one loved kisses and laying on your head. Even though we are a little sleep deprived, she is still just the cutest thing ever and we are super happy to have a pet in our home.

She is definitely going to make our family happy! :) 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Donut Mufifins

Last night as I was perusing Facebook, I came upon the recipes for muffins that taste like donuts. Now, I love donuts. I mean, if I could eat them every day without consequence, I think I would. This morning as I was driving home from taking my husband to work I was VERY tempted to stop and buy donuts. Thankfully, I remembered this little recipe and saved myself some money.

I went home and made them and anxiously awaited the results. Unfortunately, they did not taste ANYTHING like donuts. They were still yummy, just not donut tasting. I don't know if this happens to anyone else, but it always seems that the recipes I find online via social media are always a little off. They never quite turn out how you hope. For example, I made cake batter fudge I found on Pinterest and it turned into a giant glob of super sweet dough. There was nothing fudge-y about it! Needless to say, I was really hoping that this would not end the same.

In addition, I wanted to practice some food photography for the monthly challenge over on I also wanted to try some different editing techniques for food.

Oh yeah, look at that thing!!

Okay, as these babies were cooking, my house smelled AMAZING! I was beginning to think that even if they turned out bad, I'd still make them before guests come over so my house would smell good!

I could hardly wait for them to get done!!

I've really started loving the look of matte photos! Check out that glaze!
I wasn't the only one who was excited about these muffins. Baby Michael almost pulled the tablecloth off trying to get these guys.

Alright, so your probably wondering when I'm gonna get to the recipe. Let me preface that by saying these were pretty and smelled delicious, but they did have a few problems that I'm gonna change next time.

First, the recipe calls for 1/2 tsp of Nutmeg. I think next time I'll do 1/4 tsp instead. I am not big Nutmeg fan as it is.

Second, the original recipe calls for a melted butter and a cinnamon sugar glaze. I decided to make it more of a donut glaze and used powdered sugar and milk with a tiny bit of vanilla and cinnamon. I'd looked pretty,
but it really didn't work with these muffins. Next time, I'll just do the cinnamon sugar and melted butter.

Third, these are the farthest thing from healthy and probably shouldn't be eaten as a breakfast. I think there is probably a way to make these healthy, but you'd have to ask my dear friend over at Life with JaM. She is amazingly talented at making deliciously healthy recipes!

Okay, here is is!!

Not-so-Donut-Tasting Donut Muffins:

1 3/4 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Nutmeg (like I said, I'd use about half that)
1/2 tsp Cinnamon (the original recipe calls for only 1/4 tsp, but I used 1/2)
3/4 cup White Sugar
1/3 cup Vegetable or Canola Oil
1 egg
3/4 cup Milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Mix dry ingredients in bowl. In separate bowl, mix wet ingredients. Slowly beat wet ingredients into dry being careful not to over mix them.

Bake for 20-25 min. (Mine were done after 20 minutes.)

While they are baking, mix melted butter and cinnamon sugar to make "icing". Soon after muffins are done, coat in "icing"

Monday, January 27, 2014

Michael-isms and the funny things that make us love him!

I have been really wanting to write down all the little things Michael does that makes him so special, so here I am. And now that I'm here writing it, I am sure I'll forget some.

-He is SO clumsy! (He is my child, after all.) You can see in this pictures he is sporting a nice "Joker" cut. How did this happen? He fell into a file cabinet!! Later that day, he fell and slammed his eye into my head and gave himself a black eye! GAH!!

-He is constantly saying "What's this??" It was really cute for the first hour... three weeks later? Are you kidding me... its still super cute (mostly).

-He is a camera CHEESE!! He loves having his picture taken. It could be because I am constantly taking his picture.... But seriously? How cute is he??? He even poses now!

Love his smiley eyes!

-He finds it really funny if you tell him his feet are stinky! In fact, he will stick his feet in your face to get you to do it!

-Somehow he has come to think "fold your arms" means lay down on  your stomach and put your hands above your head. (Like someone praising Allah.) We did not teach him this, but every time we kneel for prayer he lays down and it cracks me up. Sometimes I can't even say the prayer I am laughing so hard! At least he's being reverent! People are gonna start thinkink we're closet Muslims. Were not, by the way! :)

-He loves anything dangerous. (Goes great with how clumsy he is!) Anyways, he has recently discovered the wonders of climbing! In this picture, he has wheeled a wagon over to his tool set and climbed on it... oh my!

-He is NOT a picky eater... I mean, he tried to eat a crayon for Pete's sake and the pigs food (YUCK). He will pretty much eat any thing that looks like food! It has been such a blessing!

-He loves books. He had so many, I bought a bookshelf for them, but he prefers them on the floor for easy access... UGH.... will I ever have a clean house?

-He really loves Bananas! (He calls them Nanas, though.) The other night he wouldn't eat dinner (as I mentioned previously, this was such a strange thing since he loves food). Anyways, later in the evening I had a mommy genius moment. I made him banana-peanut-butter-oatmeal "ice cream." Basically you just blend frozen bananas and toppings into ice cream consistency. It is super sweet and nutritious! YAY!!

Basically he is one crazy wonderful blessing to us. We are loving watching his personality develop and hope that we can teach him all the things he needs to know!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 in a Nutshell!

I can hardly believe today is the LAST day of 2013! This year we have had so much fun and have grown so much! Here's a look at what the Pouliot's did this year! :)

We got to take a trip to Utah in January to visit friends and family! It was an amazing experience to visit and also enjoy the mountain views, something you just can't get in Kansas.

Baby Michael got to meet Kaiya for the first time! Can you believe they were ever this small??

Aunt Emily

It was so awesome to be reunited with my friends!
Jessyka and I on the long drive!
After being cramped in our tiny car all the way to Utah, we set out to find a more roomy travel vehicle and purchased a 2002 Ford Explorer. For Valentines day, we got new tires put on it! (Romantic, right?) Actually it was a ton of fun because we had to wait for a couple of hour just hanging out together. Also, we took this gem of a picture... which is one of my favorites!

In the Spring, we decided that we wanted to start looking for a house. It took some time and a lot of hassle, but we finally purchased a beautiful house that we have LOVED turning into a home!

Once we moved in, we started on many projects. One, was a quote wall in our living room. It was a crazy task that I underestimated significantly. It took about 2 weeks of work, but we finally finished it! Also, we started finishing the basement. It is still a work in progress, but we are taking it nice and slow!

Here is a picture of the wall. It is only the top half because we didn't want there to be furniture blocking any

What we have finished in the basement.
This summer we had the chance to go to a family reunion at Eleven Mile State Park! I LOVED it there.
Poor kid got sunburnt

Michael with some of his Aunts

On top of the world!
Then it was holiday time! Michael dressed up as Robin Hood for Halloween!

We had a great Thanksgiving, but sadly I did not take any pictures.

Christmas was so great this year! I loved seeing Michael open presents and spending the day with my family!

We are looking forward to what 2014 has to offer! :)

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Cute picture ALERT!

Having a blog has taught me something about myself... I am TERRIBLE at blogging. The only time I really blog is when I notice someone else has. I then think, "oh, hey, I have a blog... maybe I should put something up." So here I am, blogging...

This past week the weather here has been AMAZING to say the least. Baby Michael wants to spend the whole day outside... in fact, today he through a huge fit when it was time to come in for lunch! 

I was sitting outside on the computer while Michael played and my neighbor came out and informed me I was missing great photo opportunities. TOUCHE! I went inside and grabbed my camera. 

For your enjoyment:

This little expression cracks me up!

Michael is now 14 months! He seems to be growing bigger and more independent each day. 

Facts about Michael:

-I go to bed each night in my crib (normally without a fuss) as long as I have my stuffed horse to cuddle with.
-I love to play with my popper always, but especially when Mommy is trying to focus.
-Outside is my favorite place to be.
-I am very good at saying bye, momma, daddy, no, and please. (Mommy is proud of that last one, even if it comes out "peas".)
-I can now climb up AND down the stairs.
-I know cows say "moo" and I can moo too if you don't try and video tape it. 
-The new iOS7 operating system is no match for me. I learned in 2 days how to unlock mommy and daddy's phones.