adoption update 5.0 – MATCHED!

On the 15th of October, the fifth anniversary of the beginning of our adoption journey came and went. I posted a “Timehop” screenshot of the status I shared five years ago when we had our initial meeting with a local agency to start the process, along with a note saying I never ever would have imagined that five years later we would still be waiting to adopt. The next day, our agency called with our match from Haiti. WHAT.

We’ve been waiting for that phone call for 26 months, and for the past eight months we’ve had a foster child in our home, so we’ve been distracted from the wait a bit. We’d almost, almost given up on our dream to bring a child home from Haiti. Paperwork necessary for adopting reached their expiry dates. Haiti was plagued with strikes in their government and judicial branches.

Then on the rainy evening of October 16, the call came. “You’re matched!” It’s a boy. He’s almost five years old. He was born just weeks after we decided to pursue adopting (not from Haiti, initially, if you’ve been around long enough to remember the beginning of this crazy adventure!). He’s in one of the most wonderful places a kid in his situation can be. (Huge answer to my deepest prayers: I’ve asked God this whole time that wherever our next child was, that he or she would be safe, loved, fed, and well cared for. He is! and has been for his whole little life.)

We are now in the midst of the flurry of paperwork and invoices for payments (thanks to our generous friends and family and savings, we are able to make the next payment right away) and figuring out childcare for our three plus one to coincide with travel dates to go meet him in Haiti.

THANK YOU, Jesus. We are so excited and grateful to finally know a new, tiny sliver of this story He is writing. Thank you to everyone who has been praying for us through to this point. Thank you for partnering with us financially. We would not be here without all the help and love and gifts you’ve given. We still need about $10,000 to bring this kiddo home, and the court process in Haiti takes anywhere from 10-20 months or so from when we meet him. So your prayers and partnership in this endeavor are still so needed! Let’s rejoice together at what God is doing! We can’t wait to go to Haiti and meet this little man soon.


  • What’s his name?
    We can’t share this online until he’s a Puelston. But we can tell you in person and show you his picture, and we’d be very happy to do that!
  • How old is he?
    He’s almost five years old.
  • Why don’t you get to bring him home right away?
    The court process in Haiti doesn’t start until we go down to meet him. That process can take anywhere from 10-20 months, depending on many factors. Haiti is a mystifying country – sometimes you just have to chalk delays and strange things up to “it’s Haiti”!
  • How long will you be in Haiti when you go to meet him?
    We get to stay in Haiti for two weeks, required by Haitian adoption law. We will stay at a guest house near the orphanage (creche, in French), and have time to play with and get to know him each day.
  • Feel free to ask other questions and if we are able to answer them we will!



currently 12.0

whoa. it’s been four years since I’ve done a “currently” post. Well, really its been four years since I blogged with any regularity. 😛 Sigh. Life! It happens. Motherhood and fostering have both taken huge bites out of my brain and my time.

current reading material: just wrapped up Seabiscuit and The Glass Castle – finally! Those two had been on my list for years. Currently halfway through Half Broke Horses and listening to The Aviator’s Wife on audiobook. Apparently I go in spurts with reading because I hadn’t really read since our trip to Mexico in January until the past month. Silly me! I love it so.

current songs o’ delight: “Give Love” by Andy Grammer.

current projects: ripping out our basement wet bar that we never use, so we can turn it into a more functional space for schooling/play.

current recipes I’ve tried: this fabulous Chopped Chicken Salad with Creamy Peanut Dressing. I omitted the peppers in the dressing, and skipped the jicama and Asian pear in the salad, but otherwise followed the recipe. Makes a good amount, so we had leftovers for lunch and dinner the next day too. Could be Whole30 if you subbed a bit of fruit juice for the coconut palm sugar.

current hair color: natural with a healthy dose of blonde on the bottom 2/3. the grey is creeping in, y’all and I’m just not ready to face that music yet.

current events: just had a lovely trip up north to Grand Marais, where we enjoyed all our favorite things and also tried our hand at innkeeping for a friend who needed a little break from her five unit motel. We liked it and hope to do it again sometime later this year.

upcoming events: Jackson turns 8 in just over a week and I’m a little in denial. Time is a thief.

or this version….

loving: pineapple strawberry La Croix sparkling water – the Curate’ version
reading: Half Broke Horses, by Jeannette Walls (just finished her first book, The Glass Castle)
waiting for: clarity for our foster kiddos case and a referral from Haiti
shopping for: pool floaties and chemicals
excited about: possibly going to NYC in the fall with Kyle
trying to: not lose my sanity caring for a VERY, super, uber busy toddler and my other three too
working on: achieving perfect pool water. ha!
enjoying: the She Reads Truth Romans’ study
using: bug spray. the mosquitoes are fierce again.
wearing: breezy summer dresses on repeat
planning: Jack’s 8th birthday party
needing: a haircut. and a meal plan that works.
learning: more about attachment and how to fix disordered attachment
listening to: Souvenir by Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors
wishing: I was lean/could find a meal plan or diet that works for me.
doing: more cooking! I realized I’ve been just coasting in survival mode and making tasty, creative meals gives me life. So I’m trying to do more in the kitchen again.
dreaming of: a bigger house with more space for people. my people, our family, our friends, all the people. but maybe just making this house bigger. Somehow.

adoption update 4.0

I can’t believe that its been over 4 years since we began this journey. It’s had surprising twists and turns, many delays – both perfectly timed ones and ones we don’t understand. We really thought back in September something was finally going to happen, but after 5 months of silence since then from the Haiti social services department, we and our agency have concluded something got lost in translation and we didn’t get the referral we were hoping for and anticipating based on the payment requested and given.

It’s been hard to keep hoping and dreaming of our family being complete with our kid(s) home. It’s been difficult to keep trusting that God knows what’s best for us and knows the timing that’s perfect as well. But its been good for us to keep looking to Jesus, reading His promises that He is working for our good and His glory, and for us to keep loving the kids God has brought to our home through foster care.

We hope that 2017 will bring us a match with the kid(s) God has for us, and maybe even see our child(ren) come home. In the meantime, we’re going to: keep practicing Creole (I’m about to label everything in our house with it’s Creole word), pray for our kid(s), update our home study, ask God to move mountains, get to know more Haitian adoptive families here in MN, continue learning about adoption and attachment, and love the people and live this life God has put right in front of us.

We also still have more money to raise, especially if Haiti does match us with siblings. You can go check out our Adopt a Love Story page!


2016 Year in Review

The Year that Was – 2016

1. What did you do in 2016 that you’d never done before? Took the kids on a road trip by myself. Set foot on the African continent, specifically Morocco! Took an epic westward road trip with our family. Saw my little brother get married!

2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I made goals again, (not resolutions) and made headway on many. Several will move over into this year’s goals, and others will fall into the crevice of unmet hopes and good intentions. 😛

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? yes! Several good friends and my sister-in-law.

4. Did anyone close to you die? No.

5. What countries did you visit? Morocco! It was incredible. I also made layovers in Spain and the U.K., but those hardly count. And new states for me: Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Oregon and North Dakota on our epic Last Great Adventure of the Summer Road Trip.

6. What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016? I repeat from last year and the year before: our yet unknown, but very loved already, child home from Haiti. More patience and time (use what I have more wisely).

7. What date from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? Sept. 1 – because its the day we left on our big road trip that we’d planned for months.

8. What was your biggest achievements of the year? Taking the kids on our spring break road trip to TN. planning and going on our family vacation out west with Kyle. And homeschooling again this year. We also helped several families with their foster babies while they went out of town and had a couple sweet kiddos that stayed for weeks or a couple months this year.

9. What was your biggest failure? Not setting my phone down enough.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? I didn’t, but we had a CRAZY October with an emergency room visit with Grant for croup, followed by a foot infection that went berserk and landed Kyle in the hospital for five days for treatment.

11. What was the best thing you bought? Tickets to Morocco. (Plane tickets often make it into this slot.)

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? Jackson’s. He grew up so much this year and is such a great kid. I’m constantly blessed by his sweetness, his helpfulness, and his excitement for life. He took off in reading, he plays so nicely with his siblings, and he has a heart for other people to know God and love Him.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? Donald Trump. Hillary Clinton. All politicians everywhere.

14. Where did most of your money go? housing, food, church/missions and gasoline.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Going to Morocco! Our trip west. My brother’s wedding.

16. What song will always remind you of 2016? She’s My Wife – Josh Garrels, The Dark Before the Dawn – Andrew Peterson, Hallelujah – Andy Grammer, What Would I Do Without You? – Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: happier or sadder? happier. less stressed!

18. What do you wish you’d done more of? writing. I have no idea where my writing self has gone…she took a hike and I need her to come back to me.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of? aimless Facebook scrolling. Being short with my kids.

20. How did you spend Christmas? we opened gifts at our house on Christmas Eve, then went to church Christmas morning, and left Kyle home to sleep/work. I took the kids to my parent’s to open gifts and eat dinner, then on to Kyle’s parent’s to open gifts with his family. Grant had a minor cold that went into full blown miserable mode by the end of the day, so I ended up taking him to the ER to get meds for an ear infection and didn’t get home until nearly midnight.

21. How did you spend New Years? We went to a friend’s house and had pizza. Our kids played, we grown-ups talked – it was nice! Then we tucked the kids in here at home, and Kyle and I prayed and kissed at midnight.

22. What were your favorite TV programs? This is Us, The Great British Baking Show, and Grantchester.

23. What were the best books you read? Secrets of a Charmed Life, a fascinating and riveting novel about life choices and their impact on others, set in WW2.

24. What was your greatest musical discovery? Hamilton: the Musical (MIND BLOWN) and Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors.

25. What did you want and got? A trip to Haiti.

27. What was your favorite film of this year? I can hardly remember which movies I’ve seen over the year…I’ll come back to it if I remember.

28. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I turned 34 and it was a lovely ordinary day. We had a little family celebration with dinner and cake before rushing off to coach Jack’s soccer team and play a soccer game. The next day we went up to Two Harbors to camp while Kyle ran Grandma’s Marathon. Later in the month we went to dinner and a Josh Garrels concert and that was kind of my birthday date. It was great!

29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Like I said last year – the adoption process being over and a child home in our arms.

30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016? Dialed in. I know what I like and I have found my groove. Classic with my own twist.

31. What kept you sane? Working out at the kettlebell gym, good music, my husband, and God’s Word.

32. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Nope. Nobody.

33. What political issue stirred you the most? The election. Mostly just depressed me though.

34. Who did you miss? my friends that live far away.

35. Who was the best new person you met? a beautiful soul in Morocco named Kaltoom. She is a friend of my friend and she welcomed me into her home and life with open arms and a generous heart. I was blessed so much by her.

36. Tell us some valuable life lessons you learned in 2016: I can road trip with three kids and survive just fine! Being consistent in exercise/working out at the gym makes me more disciplined in other areas and helps maintain my mental health. I LOVE lifting heavy kettlebells. Kyle and I make an amazing road tripping team and our kids are road trip warriors. I love supporting the global workers we know and want to make visiting them and seeing their lives up close a regular event for us and our family.

And here is 2017 already!  Welcome to a new year – I am excited to see what miracles and beauty you hold and what challenges you bring our way, all under the mighty hand of God.

Puelston Family News 2016

2016 Highlights, Month by Month

January – we stayed warm and close to home. We also finished up 3.5 months of a little foster love being in our home 24/7 and started doing day care for her twice a week. Jack was in 1st grade at Art and Science Academy and crushed math and reading scores in his winter and spring semesters.

February – Kyle swept me away for a much anticipated 30ish hour trip to downtown Minneapolis for a performance of Newsies!, dinner at Fogo de Chao, and an overnight hotel stay. We had a great time! We enjoyed Valentines Day as a family too – always a fun time celebrating our love for each other.

March – by the end of this fifth cold month of winter, we’re always a little stir crazy and this March was no exception. The kids and I got out of Dodge over Jackson’s spring break from school (Kyle had to work, boohoo). It was our first mom plus kids road trip to Tennessee! The kids did awesome and we had a really great time visiting friends and family. We hiked in the Smokies, ate apple fritters at the Apple Barn, stayed with Johanna’s aunt and uncle and cousins, just enjoyed sunshine and warmer weather. Hope to do it again sometime! March also brought the celebration of Christ’s victory over the grave: Easter! The kids loved being in our church’s little Easter play too.

April – Spring came, and we got outside more again! Kyle took a trip to KY for the Together for the Gospel conference with some guys from church, and kept training for Grandma’s Marathon. Kyle and I enjoyed an evening with other law enforcement officers and their spouses at the Backing the Blue Line Ball. Super fun to have a great reason to dress up in a formal and hit the town. Jackson started Track and Field for kids and quickly fell in love with running fast on a track and high jumping and hurdles.

May – We had LOTS of family birthdays and events to celebrate! Birthdays and graduations and Mothers Day and more. Kyle joined our church softball league, I became a soccer coach for Jack’s team, and Jack took home a pile of 1st and 2nd place ribbons from his end of season track meet. Jack also wrapped up his first grade year at ASA. It was great to have him there this year and great to be done and on summer break.

June – my friend Heidi came to visit for several days, and I had my 34th birthday. Kyle ran his second marathon, and in spite of ridiculously hot temperatures, bested his last time! PR for the win. Super proud of him. We also camped in tents overnight with the kids for the first time in our married life (what?!) and it went as well as we expected! The oldest two took  swimming lessons and did great – its so nice to have swimmers. Grant was miffed he wasn’t quite old enough, but he’s excited to do it next summer.

July – Kyle and I ran a 5K in downtown Minneapolis on the Fourth of July – my first chip timed one and I almost reached my 30 min. goal. We got to enjoy a Twins game with Kyle’s family on a lovely evening, and Jackson turned SEVEN on the 17th. He had an Olympics party, which was a ton of fun. July wrapped up with our annual trip to Grand Marais with the Puelston family and we had an amazing time hiking/eating/swimming/being together up on the North Shore of Lake Superior.

August – As usual, we went to parks and lakes and had lots of outside adventures all summer long. Kyle’s birthday was crammed in to a full week of summer fun and parties for other people, and he and I spear-headed a week of missions focus at our church. I took the kiddos to Como Town with a friend and her kids and then we spent the last week of the month getting ready for our EPIC ROAD TRIP WEST.

September – the first two weeks of September were consumed by our western adventure! We road-tripped to Oregon via South Dakota (yay Badlands & Mt. Rushmore!), Wyoming (THE GRAND TETONS, OH MY WORD), and Idaho, with a long stop in Boise to visit our dear friends, the Hulsons. Once in Oregon, we prepped for and celebrated my brother Josh’s marriage to his beautiful bride, Taylor. The kids were ringbearers and a flower girl, and we had so much fun getting to know Taylor’s family, and touring the area Josh and Taylor live. Oregon is fantastic. Portland is weird and awesome. The mountains have our love. We headed back to MN via Washington, northern Idaho, Montana (huge!), and North Dakota. We were blown away by the beauty, variety, and grandeur all along our route. God is creative!

Once home, we started our school year with a second grader, almost-kindergartner, and a busy almost-three year old. Jack started piano lessons. Kyle and I celebrated ten years of marriage with a quick getaway to Duluth. Ten years. Wow, that went quick!

October – kicked off this crazy month by celebrating our Taylor girl’s FIFTH birthday! We had fun creating a Pinkalicious party for our pink loving girl. And then…weird medical crises hit the proverbial fan. Kyle had an infected toe turn into crazy cellulitis which resulted in a five day hospital stay and a week long recovery back at home. Grant took an ambulance ride to Children’s for a scary croup flare-up. We were thankful for insurance, doctors, and antibiotics over these weeks. The rest of the month was less eventful, praise the Lord. A little guy in foster care joined our family just before Halloween.

November – Every day life was the norm in November, with field trips to the MN Zoo and the Bell Museum, and adjusting to life with a baby in the house once again. I took an epic trip of a lifetime to Morocco for nine days – a friend and I went to visit a mutual friend and her family in the coastal town where they live. We had an amazing time and I want to go back with our whole family some day. It’s a beautiful country. Kyle held the fort down with all three kids while I was gone and did an amazing job at it too. We celebrated Thanksgiving the day after I returned from Morocco and truly had so much TO be thankful for in this year.

December – the whirlwind month of celebrations, joy, sugar, and Jesus! We filmed our adoption story for Adopt a Love Story (update on that whole saga coming soon), and celebrated Grant turning THREE! He wanted a superhero party and we hero’d it up. So fun. Kyle was given a Lifesaving Award at his department’s annual awards ceremony – we’re so proud of his hard and dedicated work in our county. We enjoyed lots of time with family and friends, and the kids were all in our church Nativity Play (Zechariah, a sheep, and a cute tot choir member). The celebrations of our Savior’s birth were joyous and we rang in 2017 as we reflected on a full, blessed, and busy year.

chocolate    jo-with-a-hat

overheard 2.0

when the kids say something funny or cute, i try to write it down immediately on my phone and/or when I post it on Facebook, then dump them all here. It’s been more than a year since I last unloaded the hilarity onto these pages, and a lot of funny things have come out of kid’s mouths since then.

Taylor keeps us on our toes, and is always talking, so there is ample opportunity for something hilarious to pop out. So the following are things she’s said in the past year:

  • I told Taylor to please go to her room to find a happy heart and to quit whining. Moments later I heard a mournful cry from her room, “I can’t FIND ONE! It’s LOST…forever.” Oh the drama with this one.
  • “You have to be so so so quiet, ’cause you don’t want to unsurprise it!”
  • “I got a letter cut!” (a paper cut.)
  • Said to her brother, Jack, when he wasn’t sharing with her: “YOU’RE SINNING!”
  • As I tucked Taylor into bed one night, and was getting ready to walk out,she grabbed me and declared, “I’m never letting you go…I’m PHAROAH!” We both laughed!
  • While taking care of her bathroom business: “I’m gonna stink this place up!” (And boy, does she!)
  • One night she asked if God would please give us another girl so we could have three girls in our family to play princesses. So sweet.
  • She heard sirens while driving somewhere with her Grandm Meri. Grandma tried to explain why the sirens were on: to go help someone who is hurt. Taylor retorted, “Yeah, Grandma is called an EMERGENCY.”
  • Water leaked out of her sippy cup on to her dress: “Water! It’s so, so, so…wet.”
  • After eating Grandma’s birthday cake (probably mostly frosting): “My tummy hurts because I LOVE cake!”
  • Talking to her daddy one evening: “Daddy, can I kiss you? Because I love you. I miss you so much when you’re at work, and when you go places by yourself. But when you’re here, I LOVE YOU SO MUCH. So I kiss you.”
  • We let Taylor participate in the communion service around Thanksgiving. Taylor leaned over and stage-whispered to me, “Is this the blood? Because Jesus had blood in him. I need to drink more blood.”
  • After hearing me tell Grant, “I love you, fat baby!” Taylor said to me, “I love you, mama fat!” Later she came by and said, “I love you, but I won’t say chubby mama, ’cause that’s RUDE.”
  • One warm summer day, she was convinced she was sick. “I’m so dehydrated and I think I have a beaver.” (Fever. And no, she didn’t.) LOL.
  • Taylor was out with her aunties at a softball game and was getting tired. Auntie Anna held her and Taylor got incredulous. “Where’s GRANDMA. This is NOT how Grandma holds me.” well!
  • She was very pleased with her outfit one day: “This is soooo FAB-LEE-US! Isn’t it, mom?”
  • At a lake: “Don’t step on the allergy!” (Algae.)
  • When her throat hurts, “I have a throw neck.” (that’s a combo word: sore and throat = throw.)
  • She thought something she heard was funny: “That’s HILARIOUS. Is hilarious a bad word, mom?”
  • Telling me a story: “Yeah, I LUsually do it too.”



  • Oh-KAI. (How he says okay.)
  • In November 2015, after seeing his dad and big brother play lots of football, he wanted to play too and would say, ” SET. HIKE. CHUCHDOOOOOWWWWWNNNNNN!”
  • Singing Twinkle, Twinkle: “Winkle winkle yillll taaaaar.”

four years, sixteen kids

Today Facebook reminded me that four years ago we were first licensed to provide foster care in our county. It was several more months before a child was placed in our home – siblings, actually. I’ve kept each name written in a little notebook, and I have a picture of most of the sweet kiddos who have stayed with us. Some only stayed hours. Others days. Two teeny tiny babies stayed months.

We’ve had great experiences, and terrible, total breakdown moments. Our hearts have been broken over the pain and suffering these little ones have endured. I have been desperate to know how to help more than one screaming baby find comfort, since their mommy couldn’t help.

We have worked with social workers and birth families. We’ve seen kids who have stayed with us join forever families that loved them fiercely. It’s been a joy to see children return to their families who are more ready and equipped to properly care for and parent their kids. We have known that kids were going back into a situation where they could quite probably be hurt again.

It’s been so good, and so hard. Fostering is full of these strange marriages of bitter and sweet, good and bad, hard and easy. It’s good to provide a place for a child who needs a safe home. It’s bad that any child can’t stay with their first family. It’s hard to say good-bye, but it’s easy to hold a tiny infant.

It’s bitter sometimes to put aside what I want to do and what I want my life to look like to care for another child, to lose sleep because a toddler can’t rest in a strange bed…but it’s so very, very sweet to earn the trust and love of a small person who has been hurt so often by the people they should be able to count on always. It’s sweet to see them smile shyly and lean in for a hug. It’s sweet to hear them tell a silly story and laugh together. It’s sweet to see the way God provides for us, physically and emotionally as we soldier through this hard and good thing to which He has called us.

We’re taking a break from (as I’ve called it) “the fosterhood” for awhile. Back to back placements from July-January and very unique circumstances around both of them were taxing. A recharge and regroup was in order. It’s been a crazy adventure, this foster parent thing. But I can definitely say I’m glad we’ve done it and I’m glad we can do it again. Kids need love and people who will care for their souls and bodies. I can do that! We can do that. I’m so glad we can do that.