It was a sunny evening at home last summer. Sean was at the church doing youth ministry and I was wrangling kids, dishes, and baths. I told the older three (ages 6, 5, and 4) they had 15 minutes left of play while I bathed Haley. When I called out the door, "bath time!" a short while later I heard no response. As I made a bottle and pulled out pajamas I realized no pattering feet were coming up the patio. I tried again. No response.
I slipped on a pair of Sean's shoes, put fresh faced Haley on my hip and went outside. All was quiet and if you know my kids, quiet means they aren't nearby. I walked behind our property miffed- calling names, meandering, kicking around in Sean's big shoes.
6/13/2013 1 Comment
One of the surprises as I've been writing about adoption in my family and throughout our extended family is how family members' perspectives and experiences are impacting me. My cousin Sommer told me she was praying God would start showing me threads that weave through all the stories and while I'm still struggling to have overall vision, I've decided even for my own experience I'm thankful to be the listener to stories, to Truth revealed, to the hurts, healing, and miracles within my family. I believe God will answer Sommer's prayer and in the meantime I'm looking at many little pieces.
My cousin Tyler and his wife Ruth adopted two boys from Eastern Europe just over one year ago. Then within two months Tyler and Ruth's first biological son was born. Over the summer they went from zero to three boys, two of whom were learning English and adjusting to a new culture. The learning curve into parenting feels steep regardless of how you happen into it. Compile sleepless newborn nights with attaching to elementary age boys who have already lived through more circumstances than most adults have, teaching English, and getting their heads around the fact that this is now a full blown family, and you'll be as impressed as I am that they are still standing... and even occasionally smiling.
Tyler and I started talking adoption. Then we started talking about kids, parenting, and how God is using parenting to transform us. I'm sharing excerpts of what Tyler shared because it hit home, then bounced around, then simmered in my mind. Naturally, after that much thought it tumbled out into this blog. I couldn't hog all of his thoughts to myself. You all deserve to have it simmer in your minds, too:
I love in the Old Testament when God does a work and His people recognize and remember it by building altars or memorials. We don't often enough go out back, erect a big pile of rocks and say "Look what God did!" There is significance in tangible markers for us and our children to remember God's faithfulness and character.
I considered creating a large rock monument in my backyard this week but settled on this blog as a reminder and proclamation of God's faithfulness instead (I'm sure my landlords would thank me).
A year ago I knew what my choice was for my kids' education. I had home schooled for two years and while it suited our family in that season, I was asking God for a new season. With two little ones underfoot (one being a very busy two year old that had with her a social worker, mountain of paperwork, and pending adoption to focus on), with Sean's ministry and a lot of my own things to sort through, I knew I wouldn't be teaching well this year.
I was loading produce onto the conveyer belt when the checker asked, "How is your day going?"
"Good. Finished a Wal-Mart trip and other errands. This is our last stop and we're all in one piece."
Everett, who was eye level to the conveyer belt, looked up at the checker and informed her, "We had to get stuff to make our house safe 'cuz we're going to adopt more kids. Only we aren't keeping these ones. We're sending them back to their moms."
I barely held back my laughter as I explained, "I'm updating my foster care license. We have no plans for adding more kids. We're just available for emergencies or to help other foster parents...."
I trailed off realizing that maybe Everett's over-sharing with strangers habit may have been acquired from me.
This spring I took a class for six hours every Friday for six weeks to update my foster license. It crossed my mind to let the license expire. Our adoption is complete, we have no plans to add to our family, and I am very much enjoying (for the first time in eight years) being a diaper free family. When Sean is gone for a few consecutive nights or planning his next adventure, when I look at our lifestyle and full time ministry demands, when I think about the roller coaster the last few years have been, when I'm scrubbing crayon off the wall or listening to four little competing voices escalate in the car I can very clearly tell you, "I love my four kids. I am great with four kids. There's still a chance I'll need to be locked in a padded room with my current life so I'm certainly not going to increase those chances by adding to it."
Just throwing myself out there a bit...