Sunday, August 11, 2013

A Mother's Love

 Good Evening!
Tonight we have a GUEST POST
that I am beyond excited to share with you!
Please meet one of the greatest women 
I have the privilege of knowing:
my BEAUTIFUL cousin, Candace!

I promised Miss Sarah a blog and well it’s more like a slog (slowly typed blog) but here it is none the less. I’m not sure why but Miss Sarah asked if I would contribute to her blog by sharing my story. I guess the beginning is a good place to start. Growing up I had a half-brother, older sister and two younger sisters. We were a big family according to the standards at that time. Then suddenly we had a neighbor put a bug in my mama’s ear and before we knew it we were becoming a foster family. After fostering several children for short periods of time we took in a bitty little boy who happened to steal my mama’s heart. Then said mama found out that said boy had two older siblings. Then she found out said boy had a baby sister on the way. Suddenly, before we knew it, we added four kids to our family tree through the miracle of adoption. 
Papa & Mama Lutz - Photo Courtesty of Southern Reflections'
The Lutz Kids :) (Oldest brother not pictured) Photo Courtesy of Southern Reflections
Being in my teens at the time set me in a position to help with and care for these additions. At this point, I can’t imagine my life without them. In the back of my mind I always said that when I grew up, got married and had a family I would also like to foster and adopt. So, I met a cute little Italian man at our church, fell in love with him and yes, married that man.

Bruce & Candace - Christmas 2012. Sadly, a wedding photo was unavailable.
We started our lives out together under one condition . . .One day we would adopt. We didn’t think that we wanted our own children right away so we both agreed that once we had been married for over a year we would look into becoming foster parents. We did just that, we began to foster. In the ten years as foster parents, we have fostered over a dozen children. Our kiddos were of all different ages and stayed for different lengths of time. We wouldn’t trade our journey for the world. A couple of years into our marriage I was diagnosed with a condition that causes infertility. We were advised by our OB/GYNE that if we wanted children of our own we should start trying right away. We tried for over two years with no success. Finally in desperation we asked our foster care agency to put our name on the list to foster a legal risk baby. In other words, a baby that most likely would be permanently taken away from the birth parents and eventually be placed for adoption. We felt we were ready to begin our forever family. I was still undergoing fertility treatments at this point but together we decided to proceed in both directions at the same time. I will never forget the day that I finally found out that I was expecting DePinto Bean #1/#2. I had been told just a few weeks prior that the fertility treatments were unsuccessful and that in order to proceed I would need to see a fertility specialist. It was valentine’s day 2005. I had missed my cycle. Out of desperation I had decided to take a home pregnancy test. I had purchased several from a local dollar store because with fertility treatments you had to be certain you were not pregnant before moving onto the next cycle of treatments. Just before tossing the test into the trash I took one last glance and found a faint line in the positive column. Not believing it I took several more. My husband even called the 1-800--- number on the back of the package. Until we were told the blood test results we were still in doubt. Yes, I was pregnant with a miracle.
Photo Courtesy of Tiffany S.
 A week or two later we received a call from our agency letting us know that they had a baby girl that would most likely become adoptable. She was ours for the taking if we wanted her. We said yes. She was perfect.

Sweet Miss Danielle - Photo Courtesy of Tiffany S.
Photo Courtesty of Tiffany S.

We announced to our agency that not only were we taking this baby girl into our home but that in nine months we would be introducing our own baby into the family.
 They questioned our decision but we were head over heels in love. Did I happen to mention one tiny detail? All during this infertility battle, miracle pregnancy and baby girl joy, I was at Illinois Central College completing my pre requisites for Saint Francis College of Nursing. 

Camden, our Miracle Boy!

 Cami & Dani :)

The year our children turned five I finally graduated from nursing school. After the dust settled, boards were passed and my first job was broken in, my heart started to feel like it had a little more room. Just when we considered infertility treatments again, we got a call from our agency asking us to take in a little new born boy. I bet you can guess what our response was. 
Mr. Ruben Anthony!
Photo Courtesy of Southern Reflections

 Two years into raising baby #3 my heart yet again began to think it had just a tiny bit of room left in it. So, we began fertility treatments. We then received another call from our agency asking us to take baby #3’s baby brother, and we did.
Mr. Tony Alexander (Xander) & Big Brother, Ruben
Still on the fertility treatments, yes, yes I was. Five failed attempts later we decided that the stress and lack of sleep surrounding baby #4’s chronic illnesses was not conducive to conception and at this point have decided that our family is most likely complete. The following was written as a love letter to baby #3 but is so true for all my fostered/ adopted children. I consider myself to be one lucky mama with four amazing children who joined our family through four separate and unique miracles. I hope you find some inspiration the words I have written.
"Born in My Heart"
By: Candace DePinto

No, I didn’t nervously wait those three eternal minutes and see the two lines appear on a stick. No, I didn't carry you for forty weeks, anticipating your arrival or feel you kick inside my womb or feel you move. No, I didn't collect blurry black and whites of your tiny growing body as you stretched my own. And no, I didn't get to hear your very first cry or hold you in those first precious moments of life. But still you are very much my baby. 

You’re my heart, my soul and my existence extended. Down deep, so very deep in my heart, there was this little empty spot, a void placed there by God Himself that longed for you. Oh how that spot grew and grew as I waited for you. My arms ached ceaselessly to hold you and my eyes longed to see your face.
Photo Courtesy of Southern Reflections

 My mind would not stop thinking about you. I did anticipate what you would look like, how little or big you would be, how old you would be, what your hair and skin would look like. I imagined you one million and one different ways, none of those ways would do. I still longed to meet you.

The moment you were placed in my arms I knew it was a lifelong love affair. You were finally mine to hold. My arms no longer ached, my eyes, finally were full of the picture of you. My mind no longer had to wonder, my heart was no longer empty. 

Yes, conception, and birth are miracles. Adoption is also a miracle, a miracle of the heart. Legally, you may not be mine just yet but my heart adopted you long ago. That unmistakably is all that truthfully matters.

 I have heard this story and read Candace's words many times.
And they never cease to move me.
I think you will agree when I say that 
Candace loves her children with everything within her.
She and her husband work incredibly hard
to provide for their family
and always go the extra mile 
to ensure a great childhood for their babies.

Candace's story does not end here.
She asked me to tell the remaining part 
because she simply couldn't find the strength 
to discuss their current situation.

The most difficult part of being a foster parent isbecoming attached to a child that you could potentially lose.
This is what is occurring in the DePinto household.
Candace received news yesterday that their youngest,
Xander, will be returning to his biological mother on October 1, 2013
We have known for a while that this was a possibility
but it wasn't until the words were spoken out loud that they hit home.
Naturally, our entire extended family is devastated by this,
but no one more than his Mommy.

As Candace mentioned earlier, Xander is not a healthy baby.
He has had multiple hospital stays due to several chronic illnesses 
and the poor baby struggles with many different allergies.

Candace's number one concern is Xander's health and safety.
She is worried that his biological mother is not prepared to handle his medical issues.

The following is her written response 
to the news of his soon departure from us.
"Empty Arms"

You came to us at the spur of the moment. Unplanned were you; unprepared were we, but still we said yes, for love's sake.

Mommy has held your sick body, nursed you back to health, kept you alive.

What will my empty arms do when they are no longer full of you?

The only thing that comes to mind is to raise them high in surrender to our God Who knows all things and sees all things. Raise my hands in praise to a God Who, despite my current pain, loves me and loves you. What's left but to simply surrender to a more Divine plan that I could orchestrate and to shout from the depths of my soul that I still trust in Jesus!

I don't think there's anything I can add to that.
Candace, you are an inspiration to us all!

Please keep the DePinto family, particularly Mommy Candace,
in your thoughts and prayers as they face this hardship.
Words of encouragement are welcomed here 
and on ItsaRoller-CoasterLife's Facebook Page. 

Thank you for reading! 
Please visit again soon!