This week marks the end of another school year. We now have an 8th, 5th, 3rd, 2nd and 1st grader. Feels weird to type that out. I always feel too young for how old my kids are getting. This weekend marks an even bigger time in our family's life. 4 years ago on the 31st, these two little children walked into our home and our family forever. It would take another year and a half before the courts would agree with what our hearts knew. As we sat waiting for a referral for one child from Ethiopia we had gotten a call about siblings that were local the Monday before. After some prayer and discussion, Trevor and I decided that God's heart, our heart, was to give a child that needs a home a family. It didn't matter where they came from. I've always gone by the thinking that you just keep walking through the doors God opens until He closes it. We met with their mom for her to get to know us a bit one day. They came to visit another day so they would be comfortable with us and the following Monday Perri walked in smiling from ear to ear and Logan walked in with his arms crossed and a scowl that told us he had fought hard to get to this day. When I look back on that time, it's a blur really. I'm so glad I blogged about it so I can look back and see what it was all like. We had 5 kids aged 8 and under overnight. 3 of them 3 and under. We could have given so many excuses. We could have said not now, no. We could have said we don't have the money or the space or the time. Thank God we listened to HIM. Thank God we stepped out on faith and trusted.
Trevor had been layed off from his job. They weren't sure how long it would last but probably a month and were pretty certain he would be able to return to his job. It wasn't exactly the most opportune time to bring two other children into our home. People thought we were crazy. Many still do. It wasn't easy. There were times that were outright ugly. Parenting little ones that are grieving is hard. Parenting little ones that are transitioning into a new family is hard. Parenting little ones that all the sudden have two new family members is hard. Parenting is hard. Being layed off is hard. Patience is hard. I blogged about the good, the bad and the ugly and I'm so grateful I did. That experience taught me, like none other, that God provides. Always. He saw to it that we had food and snacks and clothing for them all. He provided through angels all around us that would help with the kids and love on our hurting new babies....angels that sent gift cards and showed up with clothes or dinner....angels that showed us grace and generosity and the love of Jesus. It was amazing. I remember that Trevor and I just decided to look at the lay off as a blessing. He would get a month home with all of us and we would have a month or longer to bond as a family and grow together. It truly was a blessing in disguise. That experience also taught me that sometimes our blessings come from struggle. Sometimes things aren't always as they appear and you can find His goodness even in the sufferings.
Our family has gone on to welcome other little ones into our home throughout the past four years through Safe Families and it has been amazing to see our children's heart for others grow. Some may question if that is fair to our children to make them share their rooms, stretch the money even further, spread our time amongst them all but I can tell you we wouldn't have it any other way. Do we always get it right? No. Are their sacrifices, yes. Sometimes do I have that I want peace and quiet and more money kind of day? Absolutely. BUT...The opportunity our children have to see the love of God poured out onto a family that is struggling, to children that need comforted is an experience I can't put a price on. They are better because of it. We are better because of it. The children that have walked through our doors have given us more than we have ever given them. They have taught us.
Especially those first two. The two that stayed. The two that became ours. I can't imagine life without Perri and Logan in it. It has been a privilege to watch them grow in security and love...to see them flourish in consistency and stability. I've gotten to see our 'originals' open their hearts and their lives to another so intimately and innocently. What an honor to be their momma. I often think of Perri and Logan's first mom, with tears. I sometimes feel angry at a broken world that failed her. I feel sad she is missing all of this. I pray for her often and am forever grateful that of the choices she had, she chose life. And she chose us. She chose to give them a chance to break the cycle she and the generation before her had lived with.
I wouldn't have chosen for my Perri and Logan's life to begin like it did. I wish they hadn't had to go through such loss and pain but all of this has taught me that God can use anything for good. Adoption is a story of loss but it is also a story of redemption. It is a story of the gospel...a story of love...of choices....of family.
That summer, 4 years ago, I had prayed three specific prayers over and over.....
1) Open my eyes to the needs of others around me, Lord, and use me.
2) Break my heart for what breaks yours and give me the strength to act.
3) Whatever you ask, I will do.
I have tried to live each day since like that. It has changed my life. Do I fail? Continuously, but it is the desire of my heart. Being the mother to these 5 is my greatest challenge and my greatest joy. I can't wait to see what adventures the summer holds for all of us.