Six weeks ago, Sarah and I got a call from our adoption specialist with a proposition. There were 2 kids that needed a place to stay immediately. Their staff had deliberated and had chosen us as a the family to offer this opportunity to. We had a few hours to pray, talk, and come to decision. In the end, we had to set aside any fear about what the future would look like and just make a call based on our immediate situation. Could we take 2 more kids into our home and take care of them? It was too hard to imagine all the possible scenarios, so we said yes knowing that we were not jumping blindly into an abyss, but we were merely sheep being led into paths of righteousness by the Good Shepherd.
The first week might not have been so difficult if 4 out of 6 people in the family didn’t catch a stomach flu. When Sarah’s sister, who was coming to visit that weekend, called to inform us that she had contracted bronchitis, we panicked. Leading 4 kids through the biggest transition of their lives thus far was hard enough with out projectile vomit and sleep deprivation. On the other hand, it might have been a little easier since there was usually one kid who was half awake on the couch for the day.
The second week, my mother flew up from Tennessee to rescue us. We needed an extra caregiver who could oversee the house work while we handled the parenting. Discipline was a issue from the start because we had to retool the whole way that we did it. We are more traditional in our philosophy on discipline, but we needed to learn more progressive methods in order to comply with the legal requirements of “co-parenting”. We watched a few episodes of “Super Nanny” taking notes and bought a few books with good tips. Mom spent 2 weeks with us helping us to get past the sickness and initial shock of how much our lifestyle had been altered. 4 kids is not impossible, but it’s not easy to add them 2 at a time and to have 3 toddlers in diapers.
We had a nice week after my Dad took Mom home. We were able to have a bit of “normal” routine: School, work, meals, playing, naps, baths, bedtime, chores, errands. Then Sarah’s folks arrived for a visit. We gladly excepted more help. My father-in-law took on a few projects to get a few of our spaces organized in order to create a more toddler friendly environment in our main level. Today they are departing so we’ll be back to the routine.
In the last six weeks, we’ve been pushed to the limits of our patience, our strength, and our sanity. I’ve wept a lot. I’ve experienced the loss of the life we had before. It’s been a fun time being a daddy for these new kids, but it’s still a little terrifying to imagine how all this will play out. For now, we rely on the Spirit to fill us and produce good fruit in us.