Growing our family has been no easy feat. For someone who believed that it really was as easy as first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in the baby carriage, not getting pregnant easily, delivered a damaging blow to my expectations for life.
I was married at the age of 20.
But I was someone who always wanted to be married young & have my kids right on top of each other.
When I was a newly wed I’d make excel spreadsheets of our ten year plan. Career, vacations, annnnd babies! I’m pretty sure few, if any of these expectations ended up panning out for me. If only you could type it & it would come to fruition….Then there wouldn’t be gratefulness, I realize this now.
So I’m sitting here thinking about how I had planned to be done birthing & adopting my 5-8 children by the age of 32. My birthday is this coming week & I will hit that magic number.
On my 32nd birthday I will have an almost 7 year old, an angel baby, a one year old, & a 3 year old who will be packing up for her first plane ride that will bring her to us – her forever home.
I’ve said it before & I will say it again, life rarely plays out the way we plan, but it is still BEAUTIFUL, if we allow it to be.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. How “normal” is relative. Normal is what we’ve been told is normal. When in reality we get to decide what’s normal for our household & kids.
Some might say “normal” is one mom, one dad, & three biological children. For others their normal is being a part of two blended families. Then for others, normal is one parent & siblings. While in some households normal is living with extended family [grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc] And for some, normal is two moms or two dads. For our family, normal will be a mix of biological, adoptive, & foster children, and we couldn’t be more excited about this new to us normal.
Next week our new daughter will arrive. I will look into the eyes of this girl who I already love so very much. It absolutely dumbfounds me.
The similarities between this process & my pregnancies is uncanny. I have found myself a little extra cranky lately with the nesting intensity of a third trimester crazy person. Each interaction I have with her caseworker renews the excitement that she is indeed coming, [it’s not just in my head, or false hope] without any promise of the time of her arrival. I’m uncomfortable, wondering if she’ll like me. Will she sleep through the night? Will she love to snuggle? Will I feel connected to her right away? Will she feel connected to me? Do I have everything she needs? Sweatshirts? Coats? Toys? Will she really come, or will all of this fall through?
Then there’s the task of preparing the children we have in our home currently for this big adjustment.
And in that moment, I think: yes, it is a big adjustment, but then: it really isn’t.
Will there be another mouth to feed? yes. Another person needing my attention? yes. Another set of needs that I will be responsible for attending to? yes. More money, more time, more energy….but you know what’s holding hands with all those needs? LOVE
Our family has so much love to give. Yes, we love the children we have, but we don’t feel complete. We are excited for who God brings through our door to join our family. Whether that be for short term or long term, we are excited to love the socks off of each other & anyone who passes through our door.
We are a mess. We are late most of the time. We have piles of clutter that we manage to downsize & then relocate a million times a year. We sometimes snap at each other & aren’t always as gracious as we’d like to be. BUT we LOVEeach other well.
This is what gives me a peace about what’s to come. If we focus on love, I know that everything else will fall into place. Love will cover all our flaws, all the mistakes, all the pain, & it will empower us to love each other through the uncomfortable, the new, & the difficult.
We can do hard things! & so can you!
If you have ever thought of expanding your family in this way, or maybe even just thought about loving for a little one [or big one] through a difficult time in their life. I would encourage you a thousand times to dive in. It may never feel like the right time, because there will always be something that should be better, or more prepared, but if you are able, find out information.
Information isn’t commitment. Maybe information is all you need to feel confident in finally doing something God has wanted you to do for awhile.
We can take care of each other while still being a mess.
Let’s keep improving, keep daring to do the “impossible”, stepping into new normals, spreading love & moving forward together.