Our crew

Our crew

Monday, November 25, 2013


As we anticipate the start of the Holiday season, specifically with Thanksgiving this week, I am thinking a lot about what the next year holds.  Our family will likely look very different next year!  While I'm very much looking forward to our family gathering this week, I can't help but be a little sad that our whole family isn't together yet.  I don't get to shower ALL of my kids with love and gifts this year.  Next year will be so sweet though!

This year I'm thankful for all the wonderful people the Lord has put in my life.  Grandparents that love the Lord.  Parents that taught us to love continue in that faith.  And now my children are growing up knowing that Jesus loves them and they are His children.  We are living out many generations of gospel love.  We have all been adopted into Christ's family.  I eagerly await the day that we add to that kingdom.

I looked through the TARE website today at the Waiting Texas children (http://www.dfps.state.tx.us/Adoption_and_Foster_Care/Adoption/update.asp) .  It breaks my heart to see all those children waiting for their forever families.  Consider what you can do to help them.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Second PRIDE class

Today we completed our PRIDE training.  This class was much more informative than the last.   Today's topics included discipline and sexual abuse.  Did you know that 1 in 5 kids are sexually abused in some way?  I was absolutely shocked at that number!   We talked a lot about how to deal with the effects of this type of abuse and some of the reactions. attitudes, and acting out that kids do as a result of such trauma.  It was a difficult day!  We pray that wherever our future children are that they are safe from this and loved.

In all likelihood, the child/ren we will get are already in foster care.  The only children that will come into our home are children that are already available for adoption.  Birth parents typically get an absolute minimum of 6 months before their case turns towards termination and ultimately it takes at least a year before parental right termination.  That means that our kids will be in foster care for at least a year before they come to us. I hope and pray that the foster family they are with is loving, affectionate, and Godly.  I pray that God is protecting them.

The next step is "Orientation."  I told the PRIDE teacher that it seems like each step is just the beginning.  We thought the informational meeting was getting started.  Then we thought this class was REALLY getting started.  But with the next class being called "Orientation" it seems that we aren't even started yet.  We are though.  Getting through this class was a big deal.  This may have been the biggest hurdle.  After talking to the ladies at Buckner, I'm not really worried about the rest of the training and licensing.

Orientation will be December 19th.  I'm not sure yet if we can schedule our health and fire inspections before that or if we have to wait, but I should find out next week from the case worker.  After that will be an adoption class and the home study.  Before the home study though we will have to make our first payment to Buckner.  Hopefully some of our fundraisers will be successful before that is due.

In the mean time, we are gathering more documents such as life insurance, health insurance, a floor plan for our house, and photos of the outside of our house. We are also discussing names.  We would like to give our adopted children names that mark them as Shipps.  Just as we have been marked with our Heavenly Father's name when we were adopted by Him, we would like to set our children apart.  We want to be prepared for this change when they come home to us.  We have had an extra boy name for a few years, but no girl names.  And we may need more than one girl or boy name, so we've got some thinking to do.

I am thankful for how far we have come in this process.  I am thankful that our friends and family have come alongside us in prayer and support.  I am thankful for the Lord's provision for our family and the grace He has given us thus far.  Please continue to pray for us, for our current children, and our future children.  Please pray that God would protect us all through this process and bring us together into one BIG HAPPY family.  Please also pray that the Lord would provide the means to this end.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The first PRIDE class

I finally found out what PRIDE stands for.  Parent Resource for Information Development Education.  I'm thinking they could have come up with a more memorable title for the class, but that's what it is.    Here's what the book says:

For people like you, who wish to become foster parents and adoptive parents, Foster PRIDE/Adopt PRIDE is a resource, or a support.  Its goal is to share essential information for your development into a successful new adoptive family or foster family.
This process includes education for all of us.  We'll help you learn the knowledge and skills you need to make an informed decision about fostering or adopting, and to get off to a healthy start. You need to educate us about you and your ideas about adopting or fostering. 
 I must say I was a little disappointed with our first class.  I thought we would walk away feeling much more informed than we did.  Maybe it's because we've been preparing for this for a while and had many friends walk this road before us.  There wasn't anything really *new* to us.  Some of what they presented did make us think more about origins and beginnings for the children in foster care.  We have homework to complete before the next class.  We have to fill out information about our own families and history and tell how we were nurtured and by whom, how we nurture those in our lives, and how we would nurture a child placed with us.  Then we have to make a family genogram, or basically a family tree.  (I have a feeling ours is going to look a little boring compared to many.)  This will include births, deaths, marriages, divorces, "cut off" relationships.  There's even a symbol for listing someone who's gender you don't know...Like I said, ours may look pretty boring.  Then we have to make an Ecomap.  Again, this is similar to a family tree but it also shows people outside the family that you interact with.  This one will be a bit more.  In fact, I may need a poster board for this one.

One thing that the instructor/trainer said really stuck with me.  She said that Buckner is in the business of finding families for children, not children for families.  That really got the point of CPS Foster/Adopt across well.  Of course we knew that already, but it still hit home.

We talked about emotions, connections, developmental delays, etc.  We also talked about general child care, fetal alcohol syndrome, SIDS, and behavior issues.  Next week will be the most challenging portion I think, when we talk about sexual abuse and discipline.  From what she told us, these will be the most heated discussions as people generally have the strongest feelings about these topics.

After the class I asked her what we could be working on now in anticipation of the home study.  She told us that while there are things that will need to be done, there really isn't any reason to start on them now.  I wanted to schedule our inspections and such but they told me to wait.  This is me though.  I want to know what needs to be done so I can do it.  I don't like waiting.  I guess I'm going to learn to wait.  We also will have to be ready to write the first check before we start the home study process, so hopefully our first fundraising efforts will go well.  (If you would like to be a part of this, please let me know!)

I've also recently started reading the book The Well Connected Child.  It's been sitting on my night stand for weeks and I've kind of been dreading reading it.   Many friends have recommended it and one even sent me a copy.  I've been afraid to read it because I'm afraid it's going to change my preconceived notions.  And it already has.  It's a good thing, and I suspected it would be.  But I wasn't ready for it until now.  I'll keep you posted on how it goes.

Friday, November 15, 2013


Tomorrow it all starts.  We turn in our official application and we start PRIDE.  I'm sure I'll come back with a wealth of information.  I'm already tired from a long and busy day today.  Here's hoping for a good night of sleep, no back pain, and an attentive mind tomorrow.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Getting Started

In just a few days we will start our PRIDE training.  This is getting very real.  We've made an official announcement at church about our plans to adopt, and we've told most of the people we need to tell in person.  We have a few remaining calls to make before we make it completely public, or "facebook official." Ready or not, here we go!

We are working on a few fundraising ideas to ease the financial burden.  The first will be a bake sale table at a local vendor fair in a few weeks.  I've already asked several friends to donate to this and have had great response.  I hope that many others will purchase baked goods and make this a success.  We are also working on an idea for t-shirts.  I'm really excited about this one and hope to market them well.  I'm not really sure how this one will work out as far as doing a pre-sale or just buying them and hoping we can sell them all.  Any thoughts on this are appreciated!  We've also started a GoFundMe page (http://www.gofundme.com/56ut9o).  This is the first I'm advertising this, so there aren't any donations yet.  I did see on that page many other families with a common goal.  I even found another bigger family that is going the same route we are and is trying to raise money for the same purpose.

That brings me to our purpose.  While the costs for Waiting Texas Children/CPS adoptions are not huge, we will have a few other expenses that we would like to cover.  The biggest cost will be to purchase a 12-15 passenger van.  With 5 kids under 8, we still have everyone in some type of child restraint.  Since we are planning to adopt young children, we will have even more car seats.  Our expedition technically seats 9, but only 6 are in the back and it's tight with 5.  Plus there's NO extra space for strollers or suitcases.  It's time to move up!  We have no intentions of buying anything new, but we need to raise some money to help towards that investment.

If you have any other suggestions for fundraisers, please let me know.

I hesitate to say this "out loud", but right now, we think that best case scenario is that we are licensed by April or May.  That doesn't mean that we will have a placement right away by any means.  But if all goes well, our home will be open in the Spring.  Then the real waiting game begins.