Friday, August 28, 2015

A Dream

This post is by Andrew...

A dream...
God gave Elaina and I a dream a long time ago. A house full of kids. Life. Noise. Family. A dream.
For years we tried to conceive. It was not to be. Doctors said it was "unexplained infertility." When they said those words all I could hear was Seinfeld saying "That wasn't the tube or the circle." There has to be a reason, an explanation, a cause, a purpose... You see, we have this dream.
We never had peace about pursing IUI, IVF, etc... We were moved to adopt. As we wavered, friends and strangers would appear and bring us back to adoption. It was inescapable. I felt like I'd end up in the belly of a fish if I turned away from it one more time. As we submitted to it, we had peace. It was our reason, our explanation, our cause, our purpose... You see, we have this dream.
I love the Fall. The colors. The cool mornings and crisp afternoons. The clothes. The college football. The last few rounds of golf. It was in the Fall that we took our first steps of obedience. It was in the Fall that we took our first glimpse of our children's photo. It was in the Fall that we found hope and a path forward. We gathered info, filled out forms, scheduled training... We planned and calculated. You see, we have this dream.
Fall became Winter and training was done. Winter bowed to Spring and home studies were conducted. Finally Summer arrived and we were approved. We were a licensed adoptive home in the State of Arkansas. We met our children's adoption specialist the same day. We questioned her and devoured every detail she gave about the children. Morsels of hope. Food for longing hearts. You see, we have this dream.
About a month later we met our children. Another month passed and they spent their first night in our home. A house full of kids. Life. Noise. Family. A dream.
Another month has now passed and we find ourselves in a place we never thought we be. Disrupted. It's the system's way of saying a failed placement. Our children simply are not ready to function in a non-institutional environment. Our love and effort were not enough. The last month has been challenging but full of good. A blessing. A gift. A dream.
The process of accepting that we could not safely proceed is the hardest thing Elaina and I have ever had to do. We love our children too much to continue on the trajectory we were on. We had to find a safe way to land. We love them and always will. We will be here for them for the rest of their lives. We simply cannot be their mother and father. Yesterday DHS checked the kids out of school and drove them away. Away from us. We've gone from nervousness and fear to brokenness. We hurt for our children. We long for them. We know they're full of fear. They're searching for answers just like we are. We mourn.
To quote the fictional Moonlight Graham, "It was like coming THIS CLOSE to your dreams... then watch them brush past you like strangers in a crowd."
So. Here we are. Looking for a reason. An explanation. A cause. A purpose. How can we function? How can we proceed? You see, we have this dream.
Our hope and our peace is from the Lord and in the Lord. We know He is our source and the source for our children. Our lives are His. Our plans are His. Our dream is His.
Today is His day, and He is good to us all.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Our First Family Road Trip

Before the children ever moved in we planned a road trip for the first weekend they were all home.

We were going to Oklahoma City to visit with Jill and Alex and to do some back to school shopping at the outlet mall during tax free weekend.

All week we wondered if we would be able to make the trip or if it would be too much.

Thursday morning rolled around and it seemed to be one thing after another.

Andrew looked at me and said, "We can't do this."

I completely agreed but oh how I didn't want to.

He had to be in OKC on Friday for work.

Even if we didn't join him, he was going.

It's not what this momma wanted.

We told a few of the kids we weren't going.

They were heartbroken.

And then Andrew and I decided, wise or not, we were doing this.

We had a family meeting and just broke it down for the kids.

Andrew told them he had to be there regardless and they could join him or not join him.  It was their decision.

He told them if they couldn't get along in the van he would turn it around and come home.

We were determined to have a great weekend together.

So Thursday afternoon, several hours after we had planned to leave, all ten of us loaded up in Big Blue for a 5.5 hour drive to OKC.

And we made it.

A mini vacation is exactly what we needed.

Our kids stayed off of social media and didn't talk to boyfriends/girlfriends all weekend.

We simply spent time together as a family.

Sure there was an occasional argument and the occasional frustration, but show me a family who doesn't experience that.

Our children got to meet Aunt Jill, Uncle Alex, Amelia, and Sydney.

It makes my heart swell with joy to see my kids playing with their cousins.

I've missed these two girls.

We could not have been more thankful for Jill & Alex's hospitality.  It's no small feat hosting ten loud people for a few days.  They took good care of us and loved on us well.

They even helped us do back to school shopping.

We got home late Sunday evening.  

We were exhausted.

I was thankful.

I was thankful for a weekend together, time with our family, and for the sweet memories we made.

I was thankful we decided to go for it even when everything in us told us to just stay home.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015


Yesterday was a first for our family.  Dad had to go to work and I was left home to take care of our children without his help.

The morning went smooth.

Around lunch time Satan wormed his way into our home and things took a turn for the worse. It was a rough afternoon. 

We all let ourselves get easily frustrated with one another.

After yesterday, I was scared to face today.  

Another day home without dad.  

I woke up feeling sick.  

I had an orthodontist appointment which meant Dad was home with us for the first part of the morning.  Who knew an orthodontist appointment could mean relaxing alone time?

When it came time for him to go to work I cried.  I felt myself getting angry with him for leaving us.  I wanted him to stay home and help me.

He held me and prayed over me and for our day.

Having children has brought both of us closer to God.  We cannot do this without Him.

I am thankful to have a godly husband/father leading our family.  He is strong when I'm falling apart.

And I try to be strong when he is falling apart.  We are a team and we are in this together...all ten of of us.

Today has been a good day.  We've had a few bumps but we have gotten past them together.  My children are speaking kindly to one another even when I know they are frustrated with each other.  I can't even begin to tell you how much good that does this momma's heart.

We are learning to show our love to one another in ways other than just saying I love you.  In ways that we speak to one another and how we act toward one another.

There are so many of you, some that we don't personally know , who are praying for us constantly.  We cannot say thank you enough.  We need you to carry us through the rough spots.  There are moments when we simply don't have the words to pray, but we know you are standing in the gap and carrying us through with your prayers.

Thank you.
Thank you.
Thank you.

Parenting is hard.  It's overwhelming and it's stressful.  It's exhausting and frustrating.

But it's also a dream come true.  It's a blessing and the best job I've ever had.  It's beautiful and it's right.

Children are a gift from the Lord.  
(Psalm 127:3)

 Our quiver is full.
(Psalm 127:5)

Monday, August 3, 2015

Four Days In

Friday was moving day.

All ten of us are home for good.

We've made it through the first few days.

We are learning to be a family.

We have moments where we are really good at being a family.

And we have moments where, quite frankly, we stink at being a family.

We are ten individuals learning to be together 24/7.

We are learning to speak with kindness.

Even when we don't feel like it.

We are learning to put others before ourselves.

We are being reminded constantly that we cannot do this without our Heavenly Father.

He called us to this journey and He will see us through.

But Satan is working double time to steal our joy and tear us apart.

We refuse to let him win.

We refuse to give up.

When he tells me I can't do this that I'm done, sometimes I start to believe him.

But then I remember that I can do this because I'm not doing this alone.

God is with me.


Saturday was a particularly hard day for me.

It's wasn't really anything that happened that day.

I was simply feeling the weight of everything.

The girls and I attended a baby shower and then spent the afternoon swim suit shopping.

There was some drama there, but no more than should be expected when six girls are shopping for swim suits.

By the time we made it home I was exhausted and an emotional wreck.

I went straight to the bedroom and just let the flood gates open.

I couldn't pull myself together for dinner or even bedtime.

I cried for probably two hours straight.

And I'm talking full on ugly cry.

I'm married to an amazing man who is strong when I am not.

He took care of dinner and bedtime.

He is the best daddy.

Just like I knew he would be.

At one point, one of our sweet daughters came into my room with a vase a flowers and a note saying I was the best mom ever and they had a fun time shopping.

It broke me.

There I was feeling like a failure as a parent and this beautiful girl still loved me.

The kids like to play a game where we share about where we saw Jesus in our day.

I saw Jesus in my daughter in that moment.


So see...we have our ups and we have our downs.

As do all families.

We just do it with more people than most.