Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Third and Final interview is in the bag!

We had our third, and final, interview today for our home study. We talked about how Brian and I met and about our relationship. Once again there wasn't anything that needed much discussion.

We also talked about our extended families and how they were feeling about our choice to do foster care and to possibly adopting one day. In one of the first interviews we said that we didn't have a preference regarding the race/ethnicity of the children we may have. She also asked us if our extended family would have a problem accepting a child of a different race into the family.

Neither Brian or I have been raised with any kind racial prejudice so it was easy for us to say that our families would accept any child, no matter what ethnicity they are. This is another area that I'm so thankful for. I know that if we do get a child that isn't caucasian then there may be a lot for us to learn to ensure the child understands their culture, but this is something we are looking forward to.

She said we can expect a call in the middle of January telling us that our home study has been approved. Any time after that we can get our first placement.

That is only a few weeks from now! Wow all of the sudden our "wait" hasn't seemed so long. =)

Please continue to pray for us. Pray that the first child (and every child after that) we get will be exactly who God has picked to put in our family. Pray that God will prepare me, Brian and the boys as much as possible these weeks/months leading up to our first placement. Now that we are getting closer my original fear is back... I'm getting nervous about being attached to a child and having to "give them back" to their family. Pray that I will have a peace about that and that I will not worry about things I can not control.

I am so thankful for the life God has blessed me with.. all of it. I can't wait to start this new chapter... officially.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

We wish you a Merry Christmas!

Welcome to our family blog!  If you're checking out the link we put on our Christmas cards this year then you've made it to the right place.  For people who didn't get a Christmas card, this is what we sent out.  Sorry if you didn't get one, it's more than likely because we know you would see this blog anyway! =)

So here is our annual family update in a few paragraphs.

Andersen had his first birthday in November.  We gave him a super hero themed party.  He had a great time and especially loved digging into his giant cup cake.  He started taking steps a few months ago but hasn't quite committed to this new way of getting around until just this week.  He eats just about anything and is a pro at "gumming" any food given to him.  This is probably why one of his back molars is coming through before his two top teeth.  He points to things he wants and is becoming quite vocal.  Today while Camden was washing his hands in the bathroom Andersen was pointing to the sink and squawking, letting me know he wanted to wash his hands as well.  I told him he didn't need to wash his hands because they weren't dirty.  I turn my attention back to Camden who is now drying his hands and when I look up Ander is dipping his hands in the toilet.. Ok Andersen you get to wash your hands now.  He was quite happy that he got his way.  He's starting to enjoy the train table even if Camden does everything in his power to keep him from playing with it (messing it up).

Camden is now 2 1/2 and talks to us like he's 12.  He's always reasoning with us on issues such as bed, (always wants "2 more minutes") brushing his hair ("it's fine"), taking baths (will only settle for a shower), eating ("my tummy isn't hungry) etc.  We have mastered putting on his boots, washing hands, identifying most colors, shapes, riding his bike, riding his scooter, potty training and much much more.  When we started potty training he would tell us to "GET OUT"  so we would stand outside the bathroom door and as soon as he would start going he would yell "It's working!!!!"  He never wants to go to school (nursery with Ms. Lauren while mom works) because he doesn't want to leave his house and never wants to leave school because he doesn't want to come home.  Needless to say he keeps us busy and it is always a challenge not to start laughing during the times we need to be stern with him.  He is exactly how I (Mary) was when I was little and that makes us laugh even more.

Brian will start his fifth year with UBS Financial Services in January.  It has been a great job for him and he enjoys working with the other people in his office.  He is a very good dad and helps me a lot with the boys and around the house.  During his free time he's playing his xbox, at bible study with a group of guys, seeing the latest movie or making nachos for a late night snack.  His dad took a lead pastor position and  moved to Sunnyvale last January so we have been blessed to see his parents quite a bit this past year.  The boys especially love being able to see Grandpapa and Nonna every few weeks.  

I am still teaching at SonShine Christian Preschool.   Last year was the first year for the preschool and on the very first day of school we had a total enrollment of 12 students and we ended the school year with 24.  This year we are full with a total enrollment of 40 students (24/day) and we have a waiting list.  It has been awesome to see what God is doing with this new ministry.  I've been blessed to meet so many incredible families.  Along with teaching part time, being a mommy and a wife, I've also started doing photography on the side.  It sort of happened by accident but I've enjoyed this new found hobby.  You can click here to check out my photography blog.  If I have any spare time at night you can find me reading.  Currently I'm reading the "Fame" series by Karen Kingsbury (A spin off from the Redemption series). 

Our family as a whole has had a wonderful year.  We are taking a break in having our own kids for at least another 9 months because we are starting Foster Care.  If you want to know more about that you can read more of this blog starting here.  
Thanks for stopping by to get our annual family update.  Feel free to continue to visit the blog for the latest and feel free to look around and see more of what we've been up to.  Also always feel free to give us a call, email, text, find us on facebook or even stop by!  We hope every one is doing well this Christmas season. 

Brian, Mary, Camden & Andersen Gudgel

Monday, December 6, 2010

Home Study part two

Today we had our second home study. I knew it was today, it was on my phone calendar, I'd emailed a friend last week and mentioned it... However it didn't cross my mind once yesterday and I didn't realize today was THE day until about 10:00am when Brian called me to ask me what time he needed to be home for it. Luckily the house has stayed pretty clean lately so there was no stress in that area and there wasn't much preparing to do on our part.

Our boys even got to be here for today's interviews because they were our one on one interviews. So Brian and I basically took turns having our interviews and hanging out with the boys. I liked that she got to meet our whole little family. I can't help it but I'm proud of my kiddos, i'll admit it.

So the personal interviews were her attempt to figure out why we are who we are.. How we got to this point in our life. She started with our childhood... once again both Brian and I had nothing but good things to say about our families. We talked about how we did in school- both socially and academically. Although I had an A-B average all through school, the social part was always a lot more important to me. I was the kid in first grade that got in trouble for talking to my friends when I wasn't supposed to be... that trend continued through college.

We talked about each stage of our lives and any big events that happened during them. The death of my grandpa and both of my grandmas took place before I turned 12 and although I remember being sad and aware of what was going on, I was too young to really be affected.

Then the same questions followed about my high school and college years. Unfortunately there was a couple different topics to discuss there. All sudden deaths of friends in my life.. peers. That wasn't fun talking about to say the least but it was needed because those events definitely played a part in my life. They took part in shaping me into who I am today.

I talked to her about my family and my relationship with my parents and my siblings. All good to report. I loved being able to tell her how awesome my sister is. How despite the fact that she's almost 10 years older than I am she's my best friend. When I was little she played the roll of a second mom.. then through my teen years she played the roll of a cool big sister that let me come visit her at college and stay with her and her roommates at her apartment. Now were so blessed to be living so close to each other and to have kids the same age that are partners in crime ;)

We talked about our extended family and what roles they played in my life. I liked being able to tell her that I have cousins that are more like sisters than cousins and second cousins that are more like nieces and nephews.

It was nice to be able to talk to our social worker so openly. I talked to her about how much God actively played a part in my life... in all stages. That relationship is why I am where I am today and for that I am grateful.

At the end she asked me what word I would use to describe Brian. I said helpful. Of course I couldn't just say one word so I also said patient, kind, loyal.. and then I couldn't keep it at single words so I continued with phrases like, "he's super involved with the boys" "he loves God and me and the boys more than anything else" she got the point ;)

She laughed and said that when she asked Brian the same question he described me by saying "Fun" and then when asked to explain he said something like "she's fun to be around so I don't want to be any where else but with her"

This all leads into our final home study. It will be another interview, this time only 45 min. We will talk about our marriage and then go over some of the adoption training we did a few months ago.

Things went great today. One more step is done and there's one more to go.

After the interview we were casually talking about the journey ahead of us. She mentioned that she was working with another family who was going through the home study so they could adopt a foster child they currently have in their home. They have a 6 month old baby and they're trying to hurry up and get this done because they're also more than likely going to be adopting this baby's sibling that will be born in March. (This is baby 8 and 9 for the birth mother. Babies 1-8 tested positive for drugs when born and are no longer in the birth mothers care so they're assuming #9 will be the same). This world is so broken...It makes me sick to my stomach to think of these situations happening and to think that they really are not that uncommon.

I'm excited, nervous, hopeful, anxious and every other emotion you can think of to start this chapter of our lives. We're almost there!

Thanks for your prayer and support. It means a lot and we can feel it.