Good News

Sometimes a family just needs some good news, or at least enough hope to look for good news.

Like that maybe the hospital in Utah is finally – almost – not yet – but so close connecting to Oklahoma medicaid so that we can help this baby.

Or that our “twins” ready for preK this fall maybe have finally (fingers crossed) graduated from pull-ups at night!

 This releases us from three years of at least four kids in diapers.  Barrett was three and a half when he was placed with us, and still in diapers.  I immediately transitioned him to pull-ups, and by the end of last summer he was dry at least during the day.  Anber was already out of pull-ups during the day, and was the first one out of pull-ups at night.  But now Barrett is, too, and we are so excited (and relieved)!


Kyrie is very excited about the potty, and already runs to wave goodbye to the water anytime someone flushes.  Anber potty-trained herself at 19 months, announcing that diapers were for babies and she was a “potty-sitter”.  She never used diapers again after that day!  I won’t push Kyrie that early, but I am okay if she initiates it the way her sister did.  The end is in sight!

To celebrate, Nathan brule-ed their oatmeal this morning!


Nathan and I were notified this week that it was time to renew our home for fostering another year.  Our resource worker made an appointment and came over to do the interview portion with us and the children, but she also mentioned there hasn’t been a high need lately.  This is good!  It means kids are safe, and it means we have more foster parents.  There are some seasons when it seems all the drama happens at once and they are super busy, but I’m glad it’s quiet right now.  She also said they have changed the rules about numbers and acuity, especially younger ones, and obviously we have six high need children, all of them little.  We used that opportunity to go ahead and close our home instead of renewing for another year.  Hopefully our book will give people a taste for fostering if they are able, and we will still do service projects and find other ways to help, but for now we feel comfortable releasing ourselves from the season of caring for other people’s children.

We are officially NOT foster parents anymore!

But we are parents of six, with adoptions finalized.

What a journey it has been!

This week and next is crunch time for finishing the final edits for the book, so Nathan and I are working super hard.  The kids are in their schedule, and we are balancing our work time with them, but they have enjoyed the extra playtime and some play dates while we try to finish up.  We also sent the book to our friend in Utah who knows way more medical-ness than we do, and to her early intervention team, to make sure we have presented Kyrie’s case accurately and described PRS correctly.  Another team of readers is helping us catch the last of the typo’s and any other mistakes, so we have tried really hard.  It’s finally happening, and happening so fast!  We have only six more chapters left for editing, all of it is written, and Nathan will dive into cover art as soon as his edition part is finished.

That’s more good news:  there are two crazy cool possibilities for Nathan to do theater work, and we are exploring that since the prompting came that we are being prepared to move.  We don’t know for sure, and we don’t have any details, but there is more to the story of being prompted than just the baby being sick.

When we were in Oklahoma City for Mary to be sealed to us in the Temple, back in February, we spent the night so Nathan and I could both actually go through a session while we were there.  I went in the evening, and Nathan went early the next morning before our sealing.  While we were there, Nathan had a special experience in the sealing room that instructed us to work hard preparing to move because when we moved, we would have to move quickly.  That was specific.

We also wondered if it would be to Utah or Cincinnati, because of the baby and all the other needs for the children, but have faced many closed doors as we have tried.  Jobs didn’t work out, housing didn’t work out, actually getting there didn’t work out.  It seemed that while those places seemed obvious to us because of the baby, and that even though we already had family and/or friends there ready to welcome us, that’s not where Heavenly Father was leading us.

In the meantime, we kept working to prepare.  We have worked every week to go through things, to edit our belongings, to sort through the last of my mother’s things, to see what needed to go somewhere else or we could donate to one of the local charities for families.  We have taken van loads and van loads every weekend of the things we gathered during the week, and still there is so much stuff!  How does that happen?

We still do not know exactly how this is going to unfold, but we continue to prepare.

In the meantime, other exciting things have happened for Nathan and his work, unrelated to us moving anywhere.

There is a university in Philadelphia that is doing is musical Broadcast this summer, which will give him and his composer time to work together as they polish up the final orchestrations.  We really want a cast album of that so people can get familiar with it as more and more pick it up for performing, so this will give them good time together to collaborate.

There is also a theater in New York City that wants to do their musical The Giver next year!  This is huge!  It is a small theater, but this is so huge for them!  I am so excited for them, and so proud of his hard work.  He really does so much, and works so hard, and almost all he does as a writer and as a husband and father in our home is almost invisible.  I don’t think people always understand what he does, and fewer appreciate the genius of his work or the goodness of his spirit.  He is amazing, and I am so proud of him.

Even this book wouldn’t be happening without him, I don’t think.  Just because a few publishers want to squabble over our story doesn’t make it something worth reading.  I wrote it because I documented it as it happened, and we had that material to pull from and to compile and write it from them.  But my thoughts are scattered – he says I think like Hugh Nibley, not that I am so intelligent, but I am all over the place and think quickly all scattered like that, except it really does all connect in the end.  But Nathan has taken what I wrote and organized it, presided over it, even, putting all the pieces together so that it reads more coherently and makes sense even in the non-linear presentation I insisted upon.

That doesn’t make it an easy read, though.  It’s not fun.  If you are a feeling person, you might love it because there is lots to feel.  But if you are a head person, or a solutions person, it is not a fun read because we endured so much in so little time that life was just hard without any good answers for a long time.  That’s part of life, though, and has been part of our life, and so it is a true testimony of our faith in that.  I don’t know if many people will like it, not just because of lack of confidence in my own reading, but because it is not a light and fluffy fun book.  It’s a hard book, even though Nathan has CUT SO MUCH CRYING.  There is still a lot of crying.

But maybe it will help someone, maybe a mom of a new baby who can’t breathe, or a child who is waiting for really good foster parents, or some doctor that learns to look at babies differently.

Or maybe we are just naive.

But words are what we do, and so it’s the only way we know how to change the world.

And so we type.  And type.  And type.

About Emily

I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since 2009. I serve as a Chaplain, and work as a counselor. I got bilateral cochlear implants in 2010, but will always love sign language. I choose books over television, and organics over processed. Nothing is as close to flying as ballroom dancing - except maybe running, when in the solo mood. I would rather be outside than anywhere else, especially at the river riding my bike or kayaking. PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy, and currently doing a post-doc in Jewish Studies and an MDiv in Pastoral Counseling. The best thing about Emily World is that it's always an adventure, even if (not so) grammatically precise. The only thing better than writing is being married to a writer. Nathan Christensen and I were married in the Oklahoma City temple on 13 October 2012, and have since fostered more than eighty-five children. We have adopted the six who stayed, and are totally and completely and helplessly in love with our family. Nathan writes musical theater, including "Broadcast" (a musical history of the radio) and an adaption of Lois Lowry's "The Giver". He served his mission in South Korea, has taught song-writing in New York City public schools, and worked as a theater critic for a Tucson newspaper. This is not an official Web site of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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