Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Grace Upon Goodness



I'm prone to only telling 2/3 of the story.

When I get excited about something or feel any kind of urgency, I start spitting information out at rapid speed, realizing later that I left out key details.

I'm sorry I was so vague about our newest house guest.

When I started getting texts and emails from friends saying things like, "Why do you only have one of the twins?" and "Is Robert taking care of the baby, or are you?" I knew I'd left some critical information out of the equation.

Her name is Avery, and she does not belong to Robert, but it's complicated, because one of his twins is also named Avery. Life is hilarious and strange. Remember?

The family under our roof is cobbled together without a stitch of shared DNA, seven of us making our way through the day with the high hopes that we'll still be singing when the evening comes.

So far, so good.

The change happened swift but sure, her blending seamlessly into the rest of us. Cory and I get hit now and then with waves of PTSD from the last time we parented a 2 year old, because this is nothing like that. This is one million times easier. She's easy-going, funny, compliant, happy, and chill. You'll find us with a look on our faces that says, "Oh, yes. I remember this..."

That's the thing about parenting, though. The hard kids and the easy ones still occupy the same space in our hearts. Our hard baby keeps getting easier, and he's loving his new role as Big Brother, as you might imagine. Just last night he made a potty chart for her from an old Scrabble score-pad, one check for pee and two checks for poop. Naturally.

Which brings me to this observation: Parenting a toddler is SO DIFFERENT when you have smallish, able-bodied citizens ready and willing to help. Ruby has basically earned allowance for life through her eagerness to help out. The two girls share a room, and after they all pile in after school, Avery likes to cuddle with "her Wooby" on the couch.

Gah.

This is hard, folks. It's just louder and wilder with extra clothes and dirty dishes and food and drop-offs and DIAPERS. There are toys (a toddler who plays with actual toys!!) but no toy room. There's sleep-related angst and so many things. Evenings usually find us hiding out in our bedroom, too exhausted to even speak actual words to each other.

But this is the good stuff.
This is the unplanned-for stuff that rocks life into an ever-sweeter spot.

We're committed to Avery and to her Mama, because we love them both dearly. We have no hopes that she'll be with us forever. Our focus is on loving her well while we have her, just as I imagine Calvin and Silas's foster families did.

For the millionth time, we beat our heads against "this is not about us". It never is, no matter how hard why try to believe otherwise.

But God wastes nothing, so regardless of how wonky life and the future may be, we've been handed a blessing today, so we hold it.


** We've dug out our very favorite kids bedtime book and Miss Avery is loving it just as Calvin and Ruby did. The cover is warped and torn, but the words inside are magic. AND the pictures! So much to look at. I take decorating cues from the homes Eloise Wilkin brings to life inside the pages. It's really the best book ever.

***That ^ was an Amazon affiliate link. :)

Photo credit :: Cory

24 comments:

  1. This is the Lord's work, Shannan. As a social worker, I cannot tell you how desperately we need people like you. Thank you for everything you do.

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  2. Eloise Wilkin! I grew up with so many books illustrated by her, and they're still my favorite to read to my kiddos! I just got so excited that someone else loves her. :)

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  3. it's such a blessing when the people in your home get over themselves for a bit by focusing on the little one - we have cared for little friends from church and it's amazing how all the shenanigans of teenagers wilts away in the presence of a munchkin on whom they want to love.

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  4. Love your open home, open family and open HEARTS. So worth it, even the extra laundry and less sleep! Welcome, sweet Avery! Hope her mama is alright. Love you ALL!

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    1. Her Mama IS alright! Thanks for asking, friend.
      Just keep praying for everyone.

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  5. What a love she is. I can't stop looking at her eyelashes. My word, you could land a plane on them! So, so beautiful.

    Praying now for you, your family, little Avery, and her mama. xoxo

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  6. This made me cry. So thankful for you and HIS plan. And not the least bit surprised how your bigs are loving her, hate to say I told you so...;)

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  7. It doesn't matter how worn and torn the covers or pages get, children's books are still my fave! It really is beautiful, this tapestry HE is creating with your lives. Don't know you, but I feel like I know you through the words you share here in this space. Thank you for sharing : )

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  8. You have such a kind and big heart. Bless you for blessing so many of our lives with your example and words.

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  9. WOW! How wonderful.... You are truly a blessing to so many people in so many ways......

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  10. And I bought the book! I can't wait to read it with my kids.

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  11. Amazed as always at how He orchestrates life when we're open to allow Him the role. She is beautiful! Those curlsssss!!!! She is more blessed than she knows to have a place in your heart ♡

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  12. Score one for the good. Blessings. Prayers. Hope.

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  13. As you live the middle part of this story, just know the ending has been changed for others because of your obedience! Love you, Friend!

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  14. What a sweetie! I had that same book when I was a little girl. Must have come off the ark.
    xo

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  15. There ya go, melting my heart into a big puddle again, Farmgirl.

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  16. I love what you said about the seven of you not sharing any DNA. When I told friends that we had a foster child and that I brought him home from school one day, they weren't surprised. They said I was always doing that whether furry or human. We adopted that little guy the next year. I admire you for knowing that she will go home again. That's why I never fostered before. With our son it was different, although we hadn't planned on being able to adopt him.
    Eloise Wilkins was a wonderful illustrator. Could her children be any cuter.
    Little Avery is adorable.
    Good luck and God Bless you for being there for this little girl and her mama. Prayers for sure.

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  17. Love this. By the way, you have a 22-year old guy who loves your blog - my son. Such a blessing for me to see how he loves your thoughts. Will be praying for your wonderful family.

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    1. This wins everything.
      You know I have a special place for the Big Kids. :)
      Thanks so much for sharing with me!

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  18. Yay for you all! What a blessing you all are to each other! Bless you all, and her mama too!

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  19. What a sweet little blessing Avery is! I know she is feeling all that love you are showering her with. God bless her and her family! And I loved the Eloise Wilkins reference. My dream house will always be one I saw in one of her books as a child. Dreamy! And her little faces. One of the best illustrators!

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  20. Um, see? Eloise Wilkins -we are MFEO.

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