2.9.18 – Friday

We were at our Foster Care agency and I had gone up with the baby to see if our caseworker was in her office.  She wasn’t so I was standing out in the lobby talking to two of the other workers.  As we talked another caseworker (who I had met one other time) came walking out with this cute little guy.  She stopped and for some reason (which isn’t like me at all) I asked him what his name was.  He told me.  I asked him a couple of other questions and he answered with one word.  We all chatted for just a minute or so more and he and the caseworker left.  I asked the other workers what his story was.  They shared a little bit of information and that he was legally free to adopt, meaning all parental rights were terminated and he needed a forever family.

I was blown away.  I quickly found a way to say my goodbyes and I walked back downstairs to Ryan.  I told him the story.  He was blown away.  You see when we started in foster care our desire was to give a child a forever family.  We had looked through the PA Waiting kids list time after time.

We talked for a couple of minutes and decided to go back upstairs and see if anyone could give us more information, something to read about this boy or any more information.  Sure enough they had some information.  We read, it was heartbreaking this child’s story.  Our hearts were already being pulled in.  We told them that we wanted to pray about it for the weekend and we would be back in touch.  We were told very bluntly that if we decided yes to him, it needed to be forever!  He had been tossed from home to home and he was at the breaking point.

2.12.18 – Monday

We reached out to the agency and said we were interested in learning more about him.

2.13.18 – Tuesday

We met with his caseworker, we read even more about his story, we heard about his strengths, we learned he loves Spiderman.  Each time we learned more we wanted to be able to help him.  But at what point do you feel like you are stretched far enough and don’t have more to give.  It is hard to explain and may only make sense to those that have done foster care, but parenting a foster child is so different than parenting a biological child.  The emotional, mental and everything toll it takes on you is exhausting, but oh so worth it.  Could we parent 3 boys and do it well?  These were all the questions running through our minds.

2.14.18 – Wednesday

The caseworker wanted us to meet him.  We made arrangements to meet him on Sunday.

2.18.18 – Sunday

We met “Q” in the respite home that he is staying in (his respite parents are amazing).  We played with him, talked to him, he showed Ryan his room, he shared cookies with us, it was a good visit.

We left with more questions, but also more of a peace about the whole situation.  We also left a sweet boy that has no family, no one to call mom and dad, no forever home to go to.

2.20.18 – Tuesday

We met with our current foster sons caseworker to get a feel of how she thought our other 6 year old son would respond to him, how would he feel with another child in his “territory”.  Would we see more negative behaviors from “little man” because of a change in our family dynamic?  We don’t want any regression, we don’t want to cause any more harm to him.  We had many questions.

Ryan and I talked more that night and decided to proceed with a weekend/overnight visit.  To get a feel of how the boys would interact with each other.  How they would mesh.  Yes, we realize that we won’t see alot of negative things in one weekend but it will help us hopefully get a feel of a 3 child family and dynamic and if we can parent 3 children with emotional trauma.

2.21.18 – Wednesday

So we arranged the weekend visit for this weekend.  We are excited, nervous, praying and excited!

We do not know what our decision will be after this weekend, if we will say yes to giving “Q” a forever home; but we do know that the entire situation has made us do a lot of soul searching, thinking, praying even more and talking about things that we never thought we would ever talk about, but it has been good!

God is growing our faith, He is showing us that His plan is sovereign and we just need to take one moment at a time.




Valentine’s Day 2018


This is a day we will never forget.  Back in December when we were at court for our littlest love (who is now two months old) we were told that we needed to be back in court on February 14, 2018 for a review of the case and to be completely prepared for baby to go back to birth mom that day.  How do you prepare for something like that when you have had him since you picked him up from the hospital when he was two days old.  When you have gotten up with him every night to feed him and put him back to sleep.  When you have changed hundreds of diapers.  When you have seen him figure out how to smile and “talk”.  When you have comforted him during those fussy times.  When you have seen the relationship between him and his older brother start to develop.  It is just hard to prepare to give him back with so many memories.  But being in foster care we always know that is a possibility.

All of this intertwined with the fact that his 6 year old brother lives with us also and he loves his baby brother dearly and was so sad that he might not be coming back to live with us.  He said “it makes me sad, and it is a problem, but I have to deal with it”.  How should a 6 year old have to think about that? and try to cope with that reality?

Thankfully Ryan was with us and we arrived at court early, we were the first ones to check in (which you hope means you will be the first called, but that doesn’t happen).  Ryan and I had been talking for 70 days how we would handle this day, how we would deal with handing him back to his birth mom.  We said we knew God was in control, but did we really believe that HIS plan is best even if we hurt from the outcome?  Was our faith really strong enough to get us through this day?  So many questions, so many nerves, but with only God’s grace we both walked into the waiting room and knew that if the outcome was our littlest love leaving us that, that is what God wanted, we truly felt that even though it hurt.

Long story short, the judge ruled that he would come back home with us.  As Ryan and I were driving home yesterday we talked about how many different ways we have seen God’s working in the entire situation.  We have this sweet boy for at least 7 more weeks, we go back to court on April 4 (he will be 4 months old then) and another ruling will be made.  Obviously we don’t know what the outcome will be in 7 weeks, we don’t know if we will have to say goodbye to this sweet boy, but our comfort is in the fact that God already knows and with His grace and prayers from so many He will get us through, no matter the outcome.


They Told Us…


…in training they told us about the rough times, they warned us about the negative behaviors, they said that the children have experienced so much that even when their lives are good, they act out.  But hearing it and experiencing it are two TOTALLY different things!!!

How does a 6 year old think of things that he thinks will “hurt” us because we have loved him, we have loved him even on the hard days, we have kissed him even when he “pushes” our love away, we have daily poured our lives in to him to help him grow, we have showered him with fun times, but yet it is “too much good”.  Yes, those “hurtful” things even from a 6 year old are tough to deal with even though we know he is just acting out on his feelings and doing things to see if we will still love him, it is HARD!

Over the last several weeks I am again reminded time and time again how blessed I am with the parents and family and upbringing that God allowed me to experience.  I am so blessed with not having to experience “loss” like he has experience.  I am so blessed to have lived with the same “family” all my life.  People, those things are HUGE!  Don’t take them for granted and blessings to you for giving your children a stable loving home to grow and learn in.  Notice, I didn’t say perfect, none of us are perfect and none of our parents are/were perfect but I feel so blessed!

We have some big things coming up which I can’t elaborate on at this time, but we would so appreciate your prayers for us and for these two little blessings that “call” us mom and dad!


Continuing Adventure


It has been about two months since I have written…but there is good reason for that “absence”.

So much has happened in the Gulledge home in the last 7 weeks!  On December 5 we received a phone call that we had been waiting for since July 19.  We got the call that baby boy was born, you see we had been told when we interviewed for Little man that another baby was on the way and that he would be placed into foster care as well and they wanted the boys to stay together (they are half brothers).  We had to agree to take the baby if we were taking little man back in July.  We had prepared as much as possible, we have a couple of sweet friends that had given us baby things to help us get started.  We had shopped for some things that we needed and it was all we could do not to buy every cute little outfit that we saw at the store.  Little man knew he was going to be a brother but he didn’t know that the baby would be coming to live with us.  We were able to share that exciting news with him after we got the call that the baby had been born.  He was pretty excited, but he didn’t realize just how little he was going to be and that he couldn’t play games and go outside and ride bike etc.  🙂  He soon caught on.

December 6, 2017, we headed to the hospital to meet our newest blessing.  We had to watch videos and sign papers before were were allowed to meet him…and the worst thing was that the videos wouldn’t work and the time seemed to stretch on forever, but finally they rolled him in in a bassinet and he was the cutest little baby boy.  He was tiny, but big (8+ lbs) and the videos were finally playing but I couldn’t just leave him lay there in the bassinet I had to pick him up.  It was such a surreal moment holding him for the first time.  It was hard to think that the birth mom was hurting so badly because her baby was taken away and yet we were so excited to be holding this precious little baby.  We quickly finished the videos, we dressed him to go home and we got him ready to go.  We made the trip home and our sweet neighbor had gotten little man off the bus from school so I walked down to get him so that he could come meet his brother for the first time.  We walked back to the house and he didn’t know what to think, he sat down and looked at him and rubbed his head, we asked him if he wanted to hold him and yes he did.  He held him all of 30 seconds before he started crying and then he was done! 🙂

I will be honest having a six year old that sleeps 10-12 hours a night and then a newborn that was up every 20 minutes is very very different.  Those first weeks were hard.  Harder than I ever imagined.  We would take turns getting up with him, but we were both so exhausted between still working full time, taking care of a home, taking care of a 6 year old and all that life brings.  We were enjoying getting to know this sweet babe, but we were delirious.

The last 1.5 months has been an adventure, it has had heartache, we have cried tears and we have become more and more dependent on each other (Ryan and I) but we wouldn’t trade it for anything!

We don’t know what the future holds, we don’t know if these precious boys will be with us forever, but God does.  We are having to live out the words that Ryan said when we first started the foster2adopt process “we have to love them with open hands for whatever time we have them”.  Yes!  we are and we will, but there may be tears along the way and “whys” but we will press on.

Those two little boys and their smiles have shown us more of God’s love in the realest way, God continues to love us and forgive even when we do wrong, even when we disappoint, even when we keep failing and am I willing to continue to love under those circumstances also?

Next court date is February 14, hoping to know more then.




We had court on Friday, November 3.  We had known about that date since we first got Little man so it seemed like it took forever to get here, but yet really it wasn’t long at all.

We were told it would be awkward – that was completely accurate.  To sit across from birth mom and grandparents for hours, people you don’t know and the ONLY thing you have in common is that you love the same 6 year old boy, lets just say conversation wasn’t easy to come by.  I just tried to remember what they told us in training, make them feel valued and respected.

After 4 hours of waiting (yes we were the first ones to check in and the LAST case to be called back, so much for being early).  We were herded into the courtroom and sat face to face with the judge who would determine if he should say in our home for the time being.  It was intense, it was heart breaking, it was emotionally and mentally draining, but when it was all said and done the judge determined that he would be with us at least until April 2018.

In April we will again go back to court and the judge will decide what the next step will be in his plan.  He sat on Ryan’s lap (unprompted when there were other chairs beside his other family members) and curled up like a baby, like he felt so protected in “Dad’s” arms, it was amazing to witness and the caseworkers, attorneys’ and judge all witnessed it happen.

We left the courtroom he said quick goodbyes and we walked to the car.  When we got in the car and were headed home I said to him “how do you feel?” he said “happy”.  Wow, wow, wow!  After that intense morning for us we had been able to “protect” him from the reality of what was really happening right there in the same room.  We had many people praying for us and for that we will be forever grateful, we could definitely feel it.

So, we will continue to love and care for the cutest 6 year old, ornery, kindergartner and press on.



10.31.17, Tuesday

Another month is finished and now we have seen the end of 4 months with our little guy.  So hard to believe that last October we didn’t even know this little man existed and now he has affected every area of our lives and been woven into our little family like he has always lived with us.

Friday is a big day for us, we have our first court hearing (Permanency Review hearing) with him.  Honestly we have no idea what to expect but we are going into it positive and praying for the best outcome.  We have left it in the Lord’s hands and know He will do what is best for EVERYONE!  Our appointment is first thing in the morning but we have been warned that we could be there all day.  I am going prepared; snacks, games, toys, books, crayons, etc. We don’t know what we will learn, we don’t know what the process looks like, we don’t know if the judge will think we are doing a good job with him, we don’t know if the child attorney will feel like we have done enough to help him; we don’t know…but GOD does.  He has a wonderful caseworker who has seen major changes in him since he has come to live with us, so we go in knowing we have done what we can and have felt best for him

We have had some fun milestones over the last month.  He has learned how to tie his shoes, he turned six years old, he is doing amazing academically in school, we did family pictures together, he had his first “sleepover” at a friends house.  It has been a busy month.  Each day we see more of his real personality.  Each day we get more and more attached to him.  Several days he has told us he never wants to leave and would be sad and cry if he had to leave.  Many days our parenting skills have been tested.  Many days we have fallen short but everyday we have loved that little boy more and more and are so blessed that we have had him in our home.  His smile is infectious and he has a belly laugh like I have never heard before.

This little boy has changed our lives drastically, for the better and we can’t wait to see what is to come.



Little man had a birthday a week ago!  We were so excited to celebrate him and make a huge deal out of this milestone.  Because we both had to work on the actual day of his birthday we decided to celebrate on Saturday.  At first he was less than thrilled (or so he said, we are learning that the words he says usually isn’t what he is truly feeling, but a defense mechanism), but as we were walking through a store he said to a complete stranger “I get to celebrate my birthday on two days!” So truly, he was thrilled on the inside that we were making the day all about him.

We had decided one of his gifts from us was to pick out new bedding for his bed.  We thought how fun for him to be able pick whatever “print/character” he wanted and know every time he looked at his bed that he had made that fun choice.  So, we told him that we all were going to the store and he was allowed to pick out new sheets, pillowcases and a comforter…he was again less than thrilled.  He said “I don’t want to pick out new sheets.”  Wow…yet once again our idea of something that might make him feel special and included he was not happy with.  But when we got to the store and got to the kids bedding aisle…he went crazy!  He was so excited he wanted to get 3 or 4 sets and he just couldn’t decided.  Now, just about every day he mentions something about the sheets that he picked out, or comments about something on the sheets, etc.  It is amazing how a 6 year old tries so hard to shield himself from enjoying life and having fun and celebrating those special moments…why, we don’t know, but sadly we can only imagine.

We continued the day with another one of his favorites…Happy Meal from McDonald’s and 6 helium balloons and then Ryan cooked his favorite spaghetti and we had candles on chocolate cake for dinner.

He has taught us so much in the last 3 months and we pray that we can celebrate his 7th birthday with him also and see what else he can teach us in the next 12 months.