Are you done yet?

With the adoption of four of our kiddos only weeks away we hear, “are you guys done, now” A LOT?  I mean we get it, we understand what people are asking, we do have eight children after all. I always stumble with my words when asked that question face to face. Actually, come to think about it, I stumble with most my words when in person, hence, why I probably love to write. When writing I can back space, erase, start over and edit until I say it how I know my heart feels. Now I just need to learn how to edit when it comes to grammar and this whole writing thing will work out great. Well, back to the question, the short answer is, yes and no. Is that short enough? We are not bringing in any more kiddos into our home today, at least not that we know about. Our van is full, our house is full and our hands are too. So, I guess the answer is, we are done, today. The other answer is longer, filled with much more emotion and a few more words.
When you wake up in the morning or lay in bed at night, do you feel a sense of overwhelming thankfulness? We do, the days, even the real hard ones, and yes, there are very hard days with parenting kids through trauma, we still lay our heads down at night and look at each other with such gratitude for God trusting us to be part of this. Have you found your niche in this world, calling, your heart’s beat, the thing that has made you better, closer and more grounded as an individual and family? We have, and we all absolutely love it. We love the kids, the craziness that a large family brings. Ben and I have grown closer together and farther from the things that do not matter and for me personally I think I have grown more in this past year than all my years combined and by the amount of grey hairs I have, I am thinking that’s a lot of years. There are days we are exhausted and bed time can’t come fast enough, but we felt that way with three kids. We are as busy as we have ever been and yet, better for it. Neither of us feel ready to say we are done, there are so many kids in our own back yard that do not care one tiny bit if they will have their own room, summers filled with fancy vacations or the best pair of Nike shoes, they just want a family, love and a safe place they can drop the heavy load of mess sitting on their shoulders and still be loved. We don’t do it perfectly but that’s not what they need either. For years, this has been a dream, I didn’t know how it would look, but I knew I wanted to play a part in loving kids in foster care and I still do with all of me. Will we adopt more children, foster more of these sweet kiddos or will our home just be a place of respite for tired burnt out foster parents? All valid questions that only God knows right now, because all of these questions we honestly do not know the answer to. We just know we love this ministry God has let us be part of and today there is no word we have gotten that says, stop, turn around, this is not working for you and your family, but when we do we will know and listen. Today, we are full, we are content and we are so very thankful for the eight children that call us Mom and Dad and there are no plans under our sleeves that we are not sharing. We have faithful, loving people in our lives that we confide in and we know are praying for us, and many of them have and are walking these same steps along side us and without them this journey would be much harder, so to each of you, thank you for walking this with us, step by step and loving us and the children that have stayed a day or the ones that will stay forever with us, without hesitation. There is not a thank-you that is big enough for faithful prayers and fearless committed love that we get daily from you.th

YES

Eleven years ago if you would have told me, we would have more than one child I would have said, NEVER. After Shaley was born I was a mess, as a mom, wife and women, I was one giant walking mess. I remember clearly the moment I told Ben I only wanted one child and his response was, “I have always wanted six children,” in which I quickly responded, “ well, I think you married the wrong person.” After Shaley was just over a year old, the postpartum started to lift and I started taking care of myself more, slowly life came back in to me and we tried for our second child, who was such a perfect and happy baby, so having baby number three was an easy choice to make. We made a permanent choice to not have any more biological children when our youngest was ten months old. We said we have always wanted to adopt, so if we felt led to have ONE more child we would go that route.
Now we sit here one week away from being the parents of eight children. We will soon be our own sports team, our already giant grocery bill is about to explode on a whole new level. I am sure our Costco membership will pay for itself in the first month. My washer and dryer are about to be put to the test of a none stop work load. Our kids will always have plenty of children to play with even if they are fighting with one, they will still have more than a half dozen other siblings to play with. I will have plenty of little guys to take me on mother/son dates. All of you that are moms to boys understand what a boy does to a momma’s heart and what this will mean to me. Ben will have more than he ever dreamed of in hunting buddies. When there is just too much testosterone running wild in the house I will have two girls to sneak away with for pedicures, and I am sure Ben is grateful there are only two sweet girls in his life that he will have to scare the boys away from, trust me, he has long been preparing for that first boy that we all know will one day show up at our door, but knowing Shaley he will be one awesome boy that her daddy will love. I am so excited for our boys to move in, nervous, yes! I have this nagging feeling like I should spend this next week sleeping and watching Netflix, because life is about to get crazy up in here. We will have one week to adjust and then school starts and life gets a tiny bit more simple for me in the day time but the mornings and nights are a whole new kind of crazy, I am sure.
If you would have asked me a year ago when we started this journey, if we would ever consider bringing five more children into our home, I would have laughed at you and said that isn’t even possible, is it? But if you asked me that same question today, I would tell you, we can’t wait to see what God is about to do with our family and we are so thankful he chose the children he did to be part of our lives. Are we ready, probably not even close, but that’s okay. We have the best family and friends anyone could ask for, and the one thing we are sure of is, this is all part of His plan and all we were asked to do is say yes, so we did.

Are you part of a big family? If so what are some of the best parts for you with living with a lot of other people that love you like crazy.  I can’t wait to hear all the positives that come from a house full of people.yes-2jlm7ae

Big things are still to come

On December 14th 2014 we brought into our home the oldest brother of a little girl that was in our home at the time. She ended up only staying about four months with us, until reuniting with her birth father. The little guy stayed for a short time longer until DCS placed him in another foster home that had his two brothers. The goal is always to keep siblings together if at all a possibility. We were pretty sad with him leaving but God allowed something that is very uncommon in the Foster care world, HE allowed this little guy to keep in touch with us and still come over for sleep overs, all because he asked his case worker, who saw past the red tape and saw what was most important, keeping relationships in tact, because it mattered to him, so it mattered to her. How awesome! Well, fast forward several months later, we got a call a few weeks ago saying this little guys case is going into adoption and would we be willing to adopt him. There was no hesitation at all, the answer was YES. The question that came next, is where it all got crazy real, what about his brothers? I was sitting in my car dropping my daughter off at her cousins when I got this call. I sat there for a moment and said, we just can’t right now with having the three little ones (one with very high needs) it would surely be too much. She understood and we went on with the thought of just adopting him. As life was challenging the next few weeks with caring for one of our littles that demanding so much of our time, energy and love we nearly couldn’t think of much more than that. We were in a constant state of alert, and the fight to help this child start to heal from the past life of hell they lived. We saw great steps of progress and great steps backwards also, but daily, a tiny, very tiny crack in this child’s shell was coming off, but we questioned if we could continue this fight that we were on and do so well with our other children much longer? Then we got a call last week that this child of ours would be reuniting with a family friend. Was this an answered cry? Or a million steps backwards for this precious child? It was now out of our hands, so we prayed and asked God to walk before and with this sweet child, always. We breathed, we rested and we enjoyed ourselves for a whole two days lol and then our little guy called and asked for another sleep over and we of course said yes and this time also brought one of his brothers for this sleepover. We had a great time and this is where we started talking, praying and gasping for air. Could we bring maybe just one of his brothers in? I mean they are sweet and we know them and if we love our guy so much how could we not love an extension of him? Then we talk to folks, ask for prayer and we observe what the dynamic would look like with a house FULL of crazy kids, as they all played and ran a muck this weekend in our home. The more we talked to folks, the more we prayed, the more we simply thought, the more we came to the same conclusion, we can’t separate these three boys and there is a real reason God kept them in our lives even after leaving our home. We had our church pray over us Sunday night and Monday morning I woke up around 5 am and kind of felt under qualified for such a giant life long task. So I talked a lot to God that morning laying in our bed, I asked Him could we really do this and do it without completely failing all our kids? Would there be enough of us for all of them? Then at about 5:40 am that same morning I received a text, from a sweet lady named Lynn from our church and she wrote, “Honestly, I feel that it will be just as overwhelming at times, as what you’ve been through recently. But I see you and Ben as giants, filed to the brim with love that good wants to overflow into these children he is bringing into your house. I know He sees your trembling heart, how could HE not? He has placed you into a loving caring community, not by accident. Have you ever heard of Buck Brannaham? He was raised by a couple that took in over 40 abused children. He was one of them. Check him out on FB. (He trains horses now using some of the techniques he learned from his adopted parents.) I think HE wants to stretch you further and HE is asking you to accept the challenge like queen Ester. You and Ben are here for such a time as this.” …..

….You see that big pause? Yea, that is what I did. I just stopped and thought, really God, you think we can do this? So after talking to Ben we sent a email to the boys case worker saying, we would like to be considered to adopt all three brothers. It’s not official and there are a few steps that have to be approved for it first, but if it is really God saying yes, then noting will stop it. If it’s not truly his will nothing can force it. Pray with us and we know it is a lot but we also know God, he is so much more than a lot.
So perhaps if He sees fit we will be parents to 8 beautiful children. How crazy, awesome and big fat scary our lives have changed in just under a year.