...with a husband and 5 sons, I am truly outnumbered....stories and thoughts on life from a mom in a houseful of little men!

Friday, September 24, 2010

We're Saying YES

Lots to say here, so you may want to grab a cup of coffee or tea. I'm about to share my heart on a matter. Ok. Deep breath.

Tony and I have been beyond-blessed by our quiver of little men. Never in my wildest imaginings did I think I'd find myself the mother of FOUR boys! Words cannot even express my gratitude that my Creator saw fit to place me in this role. I LOVE being a mother. After Little Knight number 3 was born, we thought we were probably "done". Why? Well, it just felt like we had what we could handle. After he was born (and actually even before he was born,) it hit me like a ton of bricks, and although I was enjoying every fleeting moment of our newborn wonder, I couldn't shake the anxiety I felt over being "done". During those days when he was so tiny, I would cry...and I would blame it on postpartum depression. When he was two, we cleaned out the house. We sold or gave away most everything "baby"...and I cried again. I cried when someone came to buy the crib. I cried when someone hauled away the high chair. I outright bawled at the thought of getting rid of the last remaining, tiny blue outfits. I remember Tony saying to me, that if getting rid of certain things made me so sad, I should just pack those things up and save them. Someday, I'd wonder why I had kept those things and then I'd just get rid of them. "Besides," he said, "We could always adopt." The day that I would wonder why I kept back that tote-full of baby clothes never came for me. That tote always remained a symbol of "just in case"...

Upon finding out we were expecting precious little knight #4, we were somewhat surprised. However, what started out as a momentary, small shock that we really weren't "done" after all, soon turned into elation over having a new baby! I cherished every moment of my pregnancy. I LOVE pregnancy. I LOVE birth. I LOVE babies. After Keiki was born, and we were experiencing the all-out JOY of having a new member of the Brotherhood, it hit me that there was no way I could close out the possibility of more children. New life is just too precious--too sacred. He was so wonderful, and added such goodness to our family. I did not feel the slightest bit ready to call it quits, and was unashamed to admit it. I have not-so-slyly continued to make mention to my husband of having another child, and Tony has sweetly continued his jokes about buying a "short bus", calling me a "Catholic in a protestant's body". (I hope that doesn't offend any of my Catholic friends!)

Earlier this year, we had a real heart-to-heart on the matter. Long story short, Tony mentioned again (we've mentioned it several times through the years) the possibility of adoption. "It just seems like the right thing to do when there are so many children who need homes." At that moment something unexplainable happened. Adoption took root in my heart. Or maybe it's that it was always there....the "adoption gene", as it is called.

We had mentioned it through the years while talking about how many children we hoped to have. I have been touched personally by adoption. My two younger cousins joined our family through adoption. It touched me very deeply as a young girl to experience their joining into our family. At the moment when my husband mentioned it as a genuine possibility for us, however, something took root and began to grow wildly out of control. In July, I began researching with a vengeance. Those of you who know us well, know that is just our style. We pull out the charts and graphs and spreadsheets. A stack of books finds its way onto the living room table. We have been amazed at how much there is to learn. We've been floored by how complex it all is. And yet, we keep coming back to the same matter of importance:

There are an estimated 147 MILLION children in this world without forever families.

We can choose to do something about that. We have hearts that are open to love. We have a loving home that will only improve by the presence of more children. We believe people are assets, not liabilities. We love being parents. We are far, far from perfect, but there are so many children who need someone to be their parents. We say YES.

We are full of questions. We are battling fear. We have felt peaceful about specific paths and had them blocked. Yet now there is a name and precious little girl's face that spurs us on. Whether this particular sweet girl is ours? Well, we'll just place one foot in front of the other and see where it leads. We will need a lot of money, and we know we are called to do this debt-free. We do not know how this will happen. Yet that flame that was conceived in my heart has been fanned into a raging fire...and the other option--to turn back--is not an option. My mother-heart has wrapped around this one. Somewhere in this world there is a child who is waiting for us to bring her home.

I was an orphan once. Pitiful and lost. The God of all creation, the Author of adoption, invited me into His forever family.


Sunday, September 19, 2010

So Easy to "Love These Neighbors..."

Ten years ago, when Tony and I were looking to buy a home, it was not an easy ordeal. We looked for months, and nothing seemed to fit. Finally we found one we loved. It was very, very small, but was built to "grow". It had a gorgeous, established yard, with Lilacs and all sorts of perennials, and a creek running through it. Unfortunately, it didn't have one of the building inspections done that we needed to qualify for our financing. We continued on the search. Several months later, we found a nice place we could picture being ours. We entered into contract and paid for an inspection. We found out the foundation was rotted. Contract void. After all this, we decided to build. We were open to most locations, and really only had one location we didn't want to look into. It would be easy to find raw land, right? We found it was not so easy after all.

Meanwhile, living above the vet clinic where I worked literally around the clock and being in my 2nd trimester of pregnancy...we had a LITTLE bit of stress going on. Our real estate agent found us a great little piece of land...the only problem? It was in one of the only areas we had been opposed to because of the monotonous drive it took to get there. However, our first little son was well on his way, and this mama was in SERIOUS "nesting mode". Other than location, it fit all of our major criteria. We decided to go for it. We had no idea that this location would be such a blessing to us in so many ways, and indeed would feel hand-picked by God just for us.

There are many things about this location that we've grown to love. There is one thing that we loved almost immediately--the fact that this land came with the best neighbors in the world. Within days of us moving in, there was fresh-baked bread and a kind note on the doorstep. The note had a big smiley face on it--a trademark which we would come to know very well. Soon we had the pleasure of meeting part of this welcoming family at the end of our driveway. It was the first of many, many such visits to come. Not long after we had our first family get-together. Through the years, we have gone for many walks, drunk many cups of tea, prayed together and for one another, and gone on many adventures together. We have spent hours (not all at one time!) talking together in the middle of the road. We have shared many birthdays and meals. We've welcomed each others' new babies, and fed each other during those times and times when we were ill or discouraged. We've spit watermelon seeds, roasted marshmallows, and eaten ice cream atop mountains. Our families have grown simultaneously. Just this evening, we danced to the beat of our nine children as they romped and played. We spent hours picking potatoes and apples, eating a meal on the lawn together, roasting marshmallows around a campfire, laughing, and enjoying each other....just because it was a beautiful, starry, autumn evening.

These are some of the coolest, kindest, funnest, most genuine individuals we've ever met. They ooze Jesus. We are always better people for having spent time with them. Some people are just so easy to love. Some people we just hope and pray we can be SOME bit of blessing to, because they are just so over-the-top a blessing to us. I'm just so thankful for friendships like this....and I am humbled because many of you who will read this are just as big of a blessing to us as what I describe. This post is in honor of our friendships. Thank you.