Monday, October 27, 2014

A Whole Lot of Waiting

Happy Monday! This week is going to be a fun one. I'm finishing up our Halloween costumes for parties/work and can't wait to debut them! Last year, we were the tooth fairy and a tooth. I wanted to do another couples costume that was cute and clever. It's going to take some construction, but I'm excited about the prospects! 

Last weekend, we spent time in Maine. It really was a relaxing weekend... Just what we needed at the time. 

On Thursday, we had our third home study. This involved individual interviews, lifestyle conversations, and a house safety tour. Now, the worker writing our study will spend the next few weeks writing a document about our lives. We will then meet to sign off on it so it can be sent in for certification. 

In the meantime, we have to do the following things: 
- Set up our landline and buy a telephone. ((Have one you don't use anymore?! We will take it!))
- Babyproof the house: outlets, cabinets, etc. We also have to make sure all meds, cleaning supplies, and alcohol is either locked up or inaccessible. 
- Buy a crib and set up the nursery. 
- Get background clearances from Missouri and Texas. I THINK I know what we need to do for Missouri, but am still a little confused about Texas. If you know or can help, let me know! 

We have been so blessed by some people in our lives who have given us things like bottles, car seats, bibs, baby baths, and high chairs, as well as clothes! 

As we wait, it's easy to be hesitant about this choice we are making. Are we sure we want our freedom and sleep snatched from us? ((Does anyone?)) Do we really want the inconveniences a child... a foster child... brings? During this waiting time, I find myself fighting the selfish desire for things to stay the same. But I can choose to be obedient, or I can choose to be selfish. We know that, for some reason, God has asked us to take care of babies who need a stable, loving home. Now. Not after we have our own kids... Now. And while I can't really give a reason why, He's been pulling on my heart for years now, preparing me and Nick for such a time as this. So, even when the desire to wait or hold off tries to pull me away, I stand confident in our decision to be foster parents now. 

With that said, we are still praying for December! Please join us in praying for everything to get turned in quickly and without any set backs. Pray that the clearances get done soon and come back quickly! Pray that we can find a day care when the time comes! Pray for our hearts as we prepare for this change. And of course, pray for the little one and his/her parents. 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Summer Travels: Day 4

Hello again!
I figured I would take a little time to recap part of our trip to France. Here you go!

Every morning in Marseille, our hosts provided us with fresh croissants and pain au chocolat from a boulangerie that they walked to every morning. It was magical! Also, the windows in the houses didn't have screens. They had shutters that they would close while they were gone during the day to keep the sun out. Otherwise, the windows and doors were left open.

The view from the backyard in Marseille
We drove to Cassis on Tuesday morning. What a beautiful place! We took a boat tour and got SOAKED riding over huge waves. The boat went along the cliffs, and we actually saw a rock climber in one spot. Apparently, those cliffs are a famous location for rock climbers.

After the boat tour, we went to the beach. The water was pristine! So clear! Unfortunately, I was on an antibiotic that had made me photosensitive, so I was LITERALLY frying in the sun. It was extremely unpleasant. The water was too cold to swim, but we enjoyed the lovely views.

Then, we had lunch. I ordered a pizza that is apparently the signature pizza of that area. It was my first time eating mussels! Nick was starting to get used to his cafe after every lunch.

After lunch, we drove back home and prepared for a party! The true purpose of the party was lost in translation, but from what I could tell, it was a late birthday party for my Uncle Guy. We hadn't seen him yet, and Nick had never even met him. He was coming over with a couple American friends, as well as a lot of their family. The dinner party didn't start until 9:00 or so. We started by eating appetizers and having drinks. Before Uncle Guy arrived, we were surrounded by people who only spoke French. Unfortunately, knowing how to say, " Can I have two croissants, please?" in French means nothing in a room full of people who would just like to know about you. At first, it was a little awkward, but as the night went on, it got much better.

Around 10:00, we sat down to eat! Plenty of bread, ratatouille, and grilled lamb and veggies was passed around. And of course, wine. The conversations were hilarious, mainly because my uncle's two American friends were hysterical. After dinner, there was the fromage course, and the cafe, and the desserts. Christine taught guests how to roast marshmallows over the grill fire. She told me that she had learned how to during a trip to visit my dad's family and Guy, and they took a camping trip to Colorado. Watching people examine the roasted goodness was pretty amusing. After dessert, more drinks. People started leaving around 3:00. I was trying so hard not to fall asleep at the table. To me, this experience was the most "French" thing we did, and was definitely the most memorable time from our trip. It was amazing to be able to sit in with a family enjoying food and each other... for 5 hours into the night, nonetheless!

The dinner table... "Coka" is always available... as well as vin rouge...

Fromage... Nick's favorite
My dessert: An orange macaron dipped in chocolat
Guy and Christine's mom. I hadn't seen her since I was in elementary school.
 ((This picture was taken at 3:00am))
I wasn't really allowed to help clean up, and honestly, with the language barrier, I wasn't very good at it, but we did what we could and then slept very, very well!

The next day, we were headed to Avignon and Chateau des Baux. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Working Toward Foster Care

  Oh hello! So I know I still need to update 5 days or so on our Europe adventure. Honestly, that feels so long ago at this point. When September came with classes and trainings and tests and random illnesses, I was forced to push fun things like blogging and reading out of the way. Ho Hum. 

I want to start documenting our newest adventure... Foster parenting. Many of you have asked for details and how to help. So, here you go. 

So as most of you know, Nick and I began the journey to be foster parents back in July. Some people, with good intentions, told us we didn't know what we were doing. But even if it looked like it, this was not an abrupt, random decision. I have always known that I would adopt domestically some day. I strongly believe that every Christian has a blatant command from God to care for the orphans and needy. For some, that may mean providing resources or awareness. For me specifically, it means providing a home and a family. Nick and I went into our marriage knowing that we would some day pursue adoption. But Foster care was not on the front of my mind. 

In late college, some people in my life started to foster and share about how it was changing their lives. Over the first couple years of our marriage, other friends and acquaintances began to foster young children. When we moved to Rhode Island, and into a home with multiple bedrooms, I started looking into the state regulations. At the time, though, it was not possible for us to foster, mainly due to the state of the house we were living in at the time. It would not have passed a lead inspection. 

So, after a couple of years, we moved, and I started looking into it again. There was no big reason or change for why I was looking into fostering over adoption or giving birth... It just seemed like a natural thing for us to do. So many people say they could never do it, which is why we wanted to do it. Every time I would talk to Nick about it, he agreed that he was up for it... Some day. 
One summer Sunday morning, I was teaching PreK Sunday school at our church, and a fellow team member started talking about how she was almost certified to be a foster parent. I was so excited to find someone in Rhode Island who was going to be a Foster parent! She told me about the agency she was getting certified through, and so I went home and looked them up. I sent the recruiting lady an email for more information, and told Nick that I thought it was time to at least look seriously at Foster care. We had the space, we had the home, and our schedules were finally somewhat stable. He agreed to at least start researching it. 

So, in July, we met with the recruiter at the agency, filled out an initial application, and got all the information we needed to get started. We made the decision to go forward... Which was crazy at first, since the process would probably take 3-5 months. I started to panic because all the things expecting parents have 8-9 months to plan for, we had 3. 
We filled out all our background checks and got fingerprinted before we left for France. I'm glad we had that 9 day break in the middle, because it slowed me down and kept me from completely losing it. Our training didn't start until September 6, so we had a month to just sort of sit and wait. 

Since then, we've sat through 26 hours of training, two home study visits, a fire inspection, and a lead safe inspection. We've had physicals and TB tests. We've filled out pages and pages and pages of paperwork about our parents, siblings, childhoods, and memories. We've discussed how we were disciplined and how we plan on disciplining and how often we fight and what we fight about. We've contacted at least 10 day cares and toured one. 

Up next, we have a couple more home study visits, and then will need to prepare our home for the baby. This will involve buying a lock box to lock up all medications and moving all cleaners and chemicals out of the bottom cabinets, as well as switching our bedrooms and getting the nursery ready. We have said that we would prefer an infant under the age of 1, but otherwise, we have no idea the age or gender! 

On Monday, we got to have some fun registering in Target. Well, I enjoyed it. :)
We have had so many people ask us what we need, so we figured we would register to help communicate our needs with anyone who wants to help. If you have kids, and see something on the list that you have and don't use anymore, we would be so grateful for any used items. If you don't have kids and just want to know what we need, the list is there for you, too! Since we do not know the specifics on age and gender, some items, like diapers and clothes, have been skipped. We are so grateful for the people who have given us baby girl clothes that their daughter has outgrown. If you or someone you know has baby boy clothes they are no longer using, we might need them!
Search for Haley Purdy or Nick Jensen. 

For some reason, it won't let me change my last name from when we registered for our wedding. 
So, take a look at the list, and if you have something around your house that you don't need anymore, we would love to take it off your hands. Or, if you'd like to help us out by purchasing something on the list, we would, of course, be so grateful for that, too. 
 We are so excited to start building up our collection of baby essentials!! 

There are also a few things you could pray for us: 
- that we find a day care that is safe, nurturing, has room, and takes the tuition from the state. That has definitely been the most frustrating part of this process. 

- that Nick and I grow closer to God and to each other as we prepare to add a munchkin to our family

- For the parents of this future foster baby, and whatever situation they are in. 

- that everything from here on out goes smoothly with the certification process

So that's the latest with the fostering process. We are preparing for December, but realize that we have to be flexible with time. :) 

Be sure to like our facebook page to get updates as things go along!