What first led you to adoption?
*My husband, surprisingly 🙂 In July 2004, he came to me, hands shaking, and told me that we had a daughter in China. I thought he was crazy! I think HE thought he was crazy, too!! But God had spoken to him and there was no denying it! We had never discussed adoption and I don’t think either of us had ever considered it. Ever.
Did you ever think after adopting once that you would be back for more?
*With each adoption we’ve always thought that this adoption would complete our family. Obviously, God has changed our minds each time, because we are heading back to China for #4 😉
Did you always plan a on a large family or did God slowly lead you to one?
*Our last biological son, Dalton, was born in 2001. We were done with him, we thought. So sure that we made *sure* that we wouldn’t be having any more biological kiddos. So when God brought the idea of adoption into our family, we were all surprised! And with each child, we’ve thought, “Surely, we can make room for one more…” and it’s always been much easier than we’d expected. So yes, God has slowly, slowly, lead us to grow our family. I think if He’d mentioned something about doubling the size of our family at the outset, we’d have run for cover!!
Mom To Six said…
How in the world did you get Chris to go back again, and do you think this is it?
*I have tried very hard, each time, to defer to Chris for the final decision. There have been many tears shed and many prayers said on my part over little ones that had captured my heart. But the reality is that I DO have a mama’s heart and I know that. So, in an effort to stay in touch with what God wanted us to do, and not rely on my emotions (which is a bad idea, anyway!) I committed to waiting for Chris to make the final decision. And he has each time. I knew that if God had another child in our future, He would definitely make it clear to Chris. And I am very blessed to have a husband who is open to God’s leading. So I tried my best to be still and wait, knowing it would be much easier for Chris to hear from God if I wasn’t chattering away at him all the time.
And do I think this is it? Uh, no. Neither does Chris. ‘Nuff said 😉
Here’s my question …
what is the secret to affording, raising & parenting 6 children?
*Well, first of all, it’s almost 8 kids now 🙂 And I guess our ‘secret’ really isn’t a secret, it’s learning to prioritize and then live our lives in a way that demonstrates those priorities. Our family is THE most important thing in our lives. So that means we choose to give up things that aren’t necessary. We don’t do a lot of extra things, we don’t have lots of new clothes, we don’t spend tons of $ on birthdays and Christmas. We don’t eat out a lot (‘cept McD’s and making an occasional ‘run for the border’, where we can all eat for $20). We teach our kids about God and what He expects of them, His rules and how He is at work around them all the time. We expect our children to be part of the family unit, help out, and be obedient to us. We always keep in mind that they are still children, but know that eventually their obedience will be to their Heavenly Father, when we are no longer in the position of primary influence. We try to keep an eternal perspective instead of a worldly perspective, realizing that little lives and hearts are worth infinitely more than any ‘thing’ the world has to offer.
After growing-up in a one-income family (with four girls), I’m curious to know about your budget–not necessarily specifics but maybe just about grocery shopping. How do you keep food spending under control? Thanks so much for sharing!
*In September, we stared on Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. It’s a budget set up based upon spending cash only, paying off ALL debt (excluding mortgage) and getting rid of all credit cards. It’s been a challenge, for sure, but we have always been a bit on the *frugal* side. I say ‘a bit’ because I realize that frugality, like many things, is relative. I’ve never searched circulars and shopped different stores to save a buck or two. We, thankfully, have the commissary (a military grocery store) which saves us a good bit of $. I do try to check prices weekly and if something is much cheaper at WalMart (which has happened before) I’ll hold off. But most times, we save at least 25% off our groceries by shopping at the commissary. We spend about $150 week on groceries, which I consider to be very reasonable. I really don’t have to watch what we buy at the grocery, I just try to avoid buying anything we won’t use, if a child requests something special, I’ll buy it, but then they’d better eat it! I buy a lot of my boys’ clothes at Goodwill. Now this might not be some people’s proverbial ‘cup of tea’, but I love to go to the Goodwill… I find some great stuff there. It’s the only place I can go and afford anything in the place! Since my boys love to dress themselves, and anything goes where boys and ‘matching’ are concerned, I buy Gap and Old Navy jeans and tees at Goodwill and then pass them down from oldest to youngest. Jude is so much younger than Dalton, I’ve had to buy him a lot of *new* stuff, but my sister, Angie, has given me a lot of her son’s clothes.
Now, for my girls, Goodwill doesn’t work. I do find a few things there for play, but not much. I buy a lot of their clothes off ebay in lots. Or when Gymbo is having a big sale.. I’ve been known to spend some major dinero. I love to buy a lot of a certain line (I do love Gymboree for my girls 😉 ) and dress them similarly, but not identically. When they outgrow it, I resell the clothes that don’t have holes or stains at a local consignment sale. Many times I make back what I paid for the clothes. It can be laborious, but it’s how I justify dropping the big $!
Chris and I are pretty low maintenance. We shop at Old Navy mostly, and if I have to buy something dressier I usually hit Marshall’s. I’m really better with a smaller selection, I lose my mind at the mall. And I don’t stress too much about clothes, I’d rather spend the time, energy and $ on my family! That said, I do try to look nice for my man, so when I need some updating, I don’t wait for him to have to tell me to get with it 😉 I color my own hair, don’t do my nails (unless you consider clipping with a nail clipper ‘doing’) and really don’t mind living without a lot of those extras. Being able to bring home our babies has been MORE than worth it… a million times over!!
The Ferrill’s said…
Do you have to straighten your hair or does it just naturally looked so brushed and coiffed like that?
*Girl… I spend less than 10 minutes on my hair. It’s stick straight. And believe me, when we finally get together, you’re gonna see it does not look ‘coiffed’ in person! I get out of the shower and it takes 8 minutes to blow dry. I know it’s just 8 minutes because often that’s all the time I’ve got!
What was the most difficult part of your time spent in China? The most amazing (Gotcha moment not included)?
*For me, the most difficult part was making the trip(s) without Chris. It was lonely and scary at times. The jet lag is SO tough, SO exhausting… and without sleep, I am a different (in a bad way!) person. The absolute *worst* time of all the trips was the first few days after we adopted Jude. He was in pretty bad shape, his head was super misshapen, he had an infection on his head, there was something funky going on with his eye, he was very stoic and his feet just freaked me out!! Jude’s adoption was our third SN adoption, but our first ‘physical’ SN. And I like to think of myself as pretty tough, but there is a huge difference between looking at someone else’s child and looking at your own. I truly felt overwhelmed by what his needs might be. It’s embarrassing to admit, since I had seen a picture of his feet, but his feet looked so deformed, his little ankles were all bruised, I was afraid that Dr. Ponseti would never get them corrected. I spent several sleepless nights sitting on the floor of our hotel bathroom, crying on the phone. Again and again I reminded myself of how God had lead us to Jude, and Chris reminded me, “God doesn’t change His mind!” Chris and my sister Angie were my ‘rock’ at that time, reassuring me that for many, the initial few days can be tough, but that things would get much easier as the days passed. Indeed, within days I was feeling renewed and reassured that everything was going to be fine. And now, clearly, I am totally in love with the boy!! But those first few days were very stressful, frightening and emotionally overwhelming. And it was our third adoption. To say I was caught off guard would be an understatement! My advice for any waiting parent is to have support IN PLACE when you go to get your child, either in person or waiting back at home: emotional support and medical support, if you can arrange it. Some people have a fairy tale ‘gotcha’ experience but I would guess that most are difficult in some aspect. I don’t want to frighten anyone, but I hope that my experience might help better prepare other waiting parents who might find themselves in a similar position, having a surprisingly difficult initial adjustment.
I think the most amazing experience would have to be the Great Wall… it was truly spectacular. And I am really not into ‘stuff’ like that. But it was something you do NOT want to miss. We went to the Mutianyu section which was much less popular so we felt like we had the Wall all to ourselves. And May is a gorgeous time of year to be there 🙂 The most fun was the time right after we settled in with Jude and headed to Guangzhou. Tori and I had a blast shopping, hitting Starbucks, just goofing off with Jude in the room at the White Swan. Of course, it helped a lot that by this time, my body clock was finally adjusting to China time 😉
There are still more questions that I have not answered yet. I will do my best to answer them all, so if you’re interested in the musings of a slightly nutty, God loving, fly- by- the- seat- of- her- pants kinda mom, stay tuned 😉