Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Long Story

Ken and I want more children.  We never had any intention of stopping at two. Or three counting our baby Robert. Year after year we hoped it would be the year I would be able to get pregnant but it has now been almost 9 years since Robert was born and passed away and we haven't been able to have another baby, even with several rounds of fertility treatments.

Ken has be pressuring me suggesting that we do foster care for a few years now. I have always had serious reservations. (I don't really enjoy other people's children and I was never sure I'd be able to love someone else's baby that way I love my own.) 

Our first inquiry was less than 2 years after Robert died, when we were living in Grandview, WA. The application freaked me out and we never turned it in.

When we lived in Troutdale I had a dream. The four of us were having a little family party and I looked out our front doorway and there was a little girl standing in the doorway. She wanted to come to the party but wasn't invited. She just stood there and watched and I was too tongue tied to invite her in. She was old enough to speak fairly clearly but was not the age of my children who were in 1st and 2nd grade at the time.

After I had that dream I was certain it would finally be the year I got pregnant. It wasn't. Ken told me he got the inpression that it meant she would have to have to come into our family through a different route if she was going to 'invited to our party.' Then he suggested again that we look into foster care or adoption.

I ignored him for two more years.

I finally caved agreed to take the classes as long as I could choose when we started allowing extra children into our home.

We started foster care classes while we lived in Kansas and dropped out. I was having too much anxiety over it.

After we dropped out, Ken didn't drop the topic. He randomly added the subject into casual conversation, leaving me with a desire to pummel him on a regular basis.  I had convinced myself that the number two was perfect. As it was, we were set to empty nesters before we were 40. AWESOME! haha.

Fast forward a little while and we decided to move back to Washington. Ken left 2 months ahead of the kids and me.  One thing I didn't miss was the foster care/adoption conversations. The silence didn't last the whole 2 months. Ken started bring it up again on the phone. I think I only hung up on him once. I did agree to pray about it though.

As I prayed I told Heavenly Father I would do whatever it was that he wanted me to do and I also expressed all of my reluctancy about the whole subject.  My final request was that if I was supposed to be involved in foster care and adoption that the thoughts would come to me at random enough times I would know it was from Him and not Ken.  I had thoughts a lot. I ignored them.

Once we were here in WA and settled, Ken started pushing again. I hadn't told him about the thoughts I  kept having. Finally, sometimes this summer I was driving home from the store with my kids in the back seat and I was feeling frustrated about then arguing and the thought came to me as clear as a regular speaking voice, 'Look into foster care.'

Okie Dokie. That was random enough I guess. At least it got my attention. the next day as I was saying my prayers, I told Heavenly Father that I am going to be obediant. I repented for ignoring His promptings and asked what the next step was. When I finished I asked Ken for a priesthood blessing. I told him I needed specifics because I was really nervous about the whole topic.

He gave me a blessing and it was so specific I hoped he would stop. He described a little girl, all her 'problems or issues' and went into more detail about a perfect stranger than I felt comfortable with. When it was over I told him I'd do foster care. He ordered the info packet that day.

A short time after that I was talking to my friend, Becky and I told her about that blessing. I felt like I should tell her the whole thing and after we talked about that, our conversations easily moved away from it.

Ken and I started the foster classes. We went to orientation together. I went to one class with Nicole and I HATED it. The next day I didn't go to class because Ken had something going on and I didn't want to go alone. After that, we just never worked out the dates that we would go back and I never brought it up. I didn't want anything to do with those classes.

Last Saturday, our home phone rang at 7 in the morning. This struck me as odd for a couple reasons.  #1, only 1 person has our home number., my dad and he never calls us on the home phone. When it stopped ringing, I called him to see if he tried to call our home and he didn't. While we were on the phone, the home phone rang again. Ken got out of bed and answered the phone and it was my friend Becky. She lost my cell number and called information to get our home number. Good thing Ken answered.

She told me the about Anna's history and what was going on in her life at the moment.  It's not a pretty story and definitely not one that needs to be published on the internet. The important part is that life in her adoptive home was not going well at all and the family was done trying. That's where we came in. DSHS asked Becky is they would take her. Becky and her husband Scott have 6 children and didn't feel that it was right for them to adopt Anna, even if they wanted to. But she said as she was praying that Ken and I came to her mind. I immediately said we'd take her but she had to talk to Anna's mom and see what they thought.

We were requested to come for a visit as soon as we could by the adopted mom, so we left that evening. What started out as an overnight visit turned into 5 days of anxiety, stress and emotions ranging from the highest highs to the lowest lows.

We met her adoptive parents, the social worker and many people in the area that are in Scott and Becky's ward that know Anna. We heard good stories about her as well as bad ones. We saw raging tantrums (not by children) and pure Christlike actions.

Anna's adopted parents turned over their rights to Ken and me on Wednesday evening. Thursday morning we met the social worker on Thursday morning and we were able to ask any questions we had. That afternoon at 3pm there was a meeting at DSHS about Anna's family. One of the decisions that had to be made was whether Anna could go home with us that night or if we needed to clear it through superior court first.

After waiting for 2 1/2 of the longest hours of my life we got the verdict that Anna was gree to come home us. Under no circumstances would they let her go back into the care of her adoptive parents and we were free to higher an attorney and persue adoption.

So, we left E. WA. 10 minutes after that phone call was over and brought our new family of 5 home. I may be leaving things out. Feel free to ask me questions and I'll fill in any blanks that I may have left out.

Sorry for the typos.  I'm not proofing this. I'm tired and want to get it posted. Below are some pictures of our sweet Anna Rebekah.  We love her!


  1. Dedra, this is purely amazing. I have no doubt in my mind that your family will handle this well and will raise another beautiful and talented child! Good luck and let me know if you need anything.

  2. wow - you really have an amazing family. Anna will have a wonderful home with you. I look forward to seeing more of her infectious smile. :)

  3. Congratulations on the addition to your family, and she must be important to come in such a roundabout fashion.

    She sure is a cutie!

  4. Dedra, you and Ken are truly beautiful, righteous people. My heart is so filled with awe for both of you.

    The first thing that came to mind reading your blog update is something a speaker said in church today. He was comparing the wealthy young man in the New Testament who, when asking the Savior how to attain eternal life and was told to give up all he had, went sadly away because he couldn't make the sacrifice to a Brother Tanner who gave up his great wealth to join the church, relocate to Ohio and gave much to the construction of the Kirkland Temple.

    Brother Tanner went from extreme wealth to abject poverty, begging for food for his children all the while having the faith that the Lord would provide. After some time because of his faithfulness and devotion to his Savior, was promised that his posterity would never again have to beg for food. The prophesy was fulfilled AND Elder N. Eldon Tanner was among those children.

    You are giving what you have for what the Lord's will. I know that will bless your family forever. While what is asked of you is filled with unknowns and vulnerability, what you sacrifice will be added unto you in much greater measure.

    You will be in my prayers. We love you and therefore love your Anna too.

  5. This is an amazing story already. I can't wait to watch her grow. :o)

  6. Thank you for sharing such an incredible, inspiring experience. I can't wait to see how your delightful family will grow with this experience! She definitely looks like a charming kiddo!

  7. Dedra, I have cold chills all over... this story is SO wonderful. Thank you for sharing it. Thank you for your faith! Your family will be blessed. I am so happy for you guys. What a beautiful, inspirational, testimony-building post! ((HUGS)) I am SO glad you found my blog one day and introduced yourself... I have been enjoying your blog ever since. Your family of 5! will be in our prayers.

  8. Congratulations!

    So, you're adopting a 4-year-old? Is this your not-so-subtle way of fulfilling your dream to have a daughter who will one day marry our oldest son?

    In case you've already forgotten: