Lava Hot Springs

We had a great time in Lava Hot Springs a few weeks ago. It was so fun to relax and spend time together.

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When we got to the hotel, Dimitri wanted to carry in his own suitcase. He is getting so big!

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This little boy kind of took over the hotel bed

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There’s a little town called McCammon in Idaho, not far from Lava Hot Springs. Adam’s grandparents lived there, and Adam spent a lot of his childhood summers in McCammon. We spent an afternoon there and Dimitri got to play at the park where Adam played when he was a little boy.

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We also drove in to Pocatello so we could see Dimitri’s birth parents. I am so glad that we have an open relationship with them. I love that Dimitri gets to know all the people in his life who love and care for him.

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Here we are with Dimitri’s birth dad, Luis, and his girlfriend Tanya

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Dimitri’s birth mom, Kasi, and her boyfriend Lane
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giving Kasi a kiss goodbye
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having fun at the lake

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For Good

My favorite thing to listen to on Pandora is Broadway music. Every time the song “Changed for Good” from Wicked comes on, I think of our foster kids.

I have definitely been changed for the better because of the children that came into our lives. And I have no doubt that they came into our life for a reason. We might never know exactly what those reasons were, or why things turned out they way they did.  One thing I do know, though, is that I am a better person because of knowing them. All nine of our foster kids, no matter how long they were with us, touched our lives. We will never forget them and will always be grateful for the experiences we had with them. Being a foster mom taught me so much. I learned so much about myself, my strengths and weaknesses, the kind of mom I want to be, my priorities, how to communicate with my spouse…the list could go on and on. I am so grateful for the opportunities I had to be changed for good.

FOR GOOD

I’ve heard it said
That people come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are led
To those who help us most, to grow
If we let them
And we help them in return
Well, I don’t know if I believe that’s true
But I know I’m who I am today
Because I knew you…
Like a comet pulled from orbit
As it passes the sun
Like a stream that meets a boulder
Halfway through the wood
Who can say if I’ve been changed for the better?
But because I knew you
I have been changed for good

It well may be
That we will never meet again
In this lifetime
So let me say before we part
So much of me
Is made of what I learned from you
You’ll be with me
Like a handprint on my heart
And now whatever way our stories end
I know you have re-written mine
By being my friend…
Like a ship blown from its mooring
By a wind off the sea
Like a seed dropped by a skybird
In a distant wood
Who can say if I’ve been changed for the better?
But because I knew you

Because I knew you

I have been changed for good

2 year anniversary

Today is a very special day for our family.  Exactly two years ago today, we found out that Kasi wanted us to adopt her baby boy. On April 19th, 2014, I wrote “Yesterday might have been the day that changed our lives,” in my journal. And it was! Sometimes it’s still hard for me to believe that Kasi picked us to be the parents of this precious boy.  To say that he has made us happy is an understatement. Telling you that I LOVE being his mother with all my heart doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel.

Here’s a condensed version of how we came to be in contact with our sweet Dimitri’s birth mom.

On April 18th, 2014,  I was home with our three foster kids, trying to make dinner. Adam was in class. The kids were a little wound up because we’d had a long day, so I was trying to get food on the table as quickly as I could. My phone had been on silent all day; I looked at it and saw that I had a few texts. I read the first text and it said, “Hi Mandie! This is Stephanie Hansen. I was wondering if I could call you in a couple minutes? I know it’s weird and I hope you remember me. I have something to ask you and it’s very important.” Stephanie and I knew each other when we lived in Provo. She and her husband Jordan had two adorable girls that I watched a few times. Although I really liked Stephanie and thought a lot of her, we hadn’t talked since they moved to Idaho, so I was kind of curious as to what important thing she could be calling about.  I thought I’d try and get the kids eating dinner before I called her back, so I text and said, “Of course I remember you. I should be free to talk in about 15 minutes.”  A while later, Stephanie called. She asked if she could put me on speaker phone, which kind of confused me, but I told her that was okay. Stephanie then said, “I’m sitting here with my mother-in-law and with my 17 year old sister-in-law. She’s pregnant. I’ve told her all about you guys, and she’s looked at your blog and everything, and, well, we were wondering if you wanted a baby.”

I felt like my heart stopped. The next thing I remember, I was crying and Stephanie was asking if I was still there because I hadn’t said anything for so long. I don’t know how long it was before I was able to answer.  But I told her, yes I was still on the phone, and yes, I would LOVE a baby (I don’t think those were my exact words, but you get the idea). Anyway, we chatted on the phone for a few more minutes and I told Stephanie that I would get in touch with or caseworker and see what we needed to do next.

The next weekend, Adam and I drove up to Pocatello to meet Kasi. I was so nervous for the entire drive, but I remember when we met Kasi, I had such a good, peaceful feeling. Like I already knew her. I knew she was our baby’s mom. I don’t know how else to explain it, but I know that other adoptive parents will know what I mean.  Loretta (Kasi’s mom) gave us a copy of one of Kasi’s ultrasounds, and I remember when she handed them to Adam and me, she said, “Look, here’s your baby,” and I was just so overwhelmed and amazed that the baby growing inside of Kasi was going to be ours.

I love Kasi so much. I will never be able to understand the courage and selflessness it took to choose to place her baby with us. I hope that we are living up to her expectations of the kind of parents she wanted for her baby.

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