Over one month ago now, sweet N came into our lives and flipped our house upside down (quite literally). Shakespeare’s, “Though she be little, she is fierce.” couldn’t be more relevant. N has invaded our hearts, which are now as soft and moldable as the play-dough she stomps into my pretty living room rug. She has made us laugh and cry, and panic, and many times – throw our hands in the air. It’s been an adjustment and most days, my response to those asking how I’m feeling… tired, is an understatement. Being able to care for her and begin a relationship with her mom has been simultaneously the most joyful and painful experience.

Online, all most people see are the fun, cute, easy times, but don’t be fooled. We’ve had our handful of rough days and nights. We’ve already gone to the ER once and an emergency session with our counselor another time. Both Eric and I would hate for someone to follow this journey under the illusion that we’re having a blast and it isn’t that much work. Because we are very much enjoying this new life, but work it is.

On November 8, nine days ago to be exact, I was spending time with The Lord when I felt this pressing upon my heart to just be open. I didn’t know what that meant, but the clarity was openness.

My mind went in many directions trying to figure out what it meant, but it seemed like God wanted me to consider the possibility of taking in N’s twin sister, M. (If you’ve been following along since the very beginning, you know that by the time we got the call for N, her twin sister and baby brother had already been placed with two other families.)

Many have asked why the twins were separated, but let me remind you that it’s not easy to find people who are willing to take in a couple of three-year-olds overnight, especially not knowing for how long. People have work and many have their own children. This would be a massive life change, a financial burden, etc. It’s never as simple of a solution as we’d like to think.

But why, Lord? I wondered. It wasn’t like M was in need. I’d met and spent time with the two women, Jessica and Reanne, who are hosting the other two children, and they are wonderful. M’s in a safe and loving environment just like her sister. So, I chose not to say or do anything, but continued to talk to God about where He might be taking me.

That’s the thing about this whole process. I’m constantly having to check what is coming from God and what is coming from my own feelings. It’s a tension I am only beginning to learn how to navigate.

Not long after the most recent weekend get together, where we got the three siblings together, did I have that strong sense from The Lord again to be open. I wasn’t certain He meant open to having M with us, but the message to be open was clear.

Whether or not the visit prompted it, N began talking about M like crazy. Whenever she’d hear someone at the door, perk up and squeal her sister’s name. Whenever she was being laid down for bed she began to tell us how much she loved her sister until she’d said her name a thousand times, like a broken record. Sometimes, she even got upset that I couldn’t pull M out of my back pocket. (Another thing our friends and family know, N rarely gets upset or cries. She’s an anomaly.)

Then, I was picking her up from preschool like normal when her teacher (who we adore!) said, “Manda, I know it’s probably too far for the other host mom to drive since you mentioned they’re out in the suburbs, but I did want to let you know that there’s a spot opening up in my classroom and it would be SO great to have N’s twin sister in it!”

I hurried home and spilled my heart out to E, telling him for the first time what I’d been hearing from The Lord about being open and all of the coincidences that followed. I reiterated that if he felt we had our arms full enough as it is, he could tell me no. I mentally braced myself for a hard no, not because my husband doesn’t love N and wouldn’t want the girls to be together, but because this has been a MASSIVE life change and it would be totally understandable for him to say, “Not yet. We’re not ready to have two kids.” But, much to my surprise, before I could even finish my sentence, E interrupted me, “Yes! Babe if M can go to the same preschool and the option to bring her into our care is real, I’m open to that. It’d be wonderful to keep the girls together and do what’s best for them.”

Quite shocked and crazy in love with this man I married, I picked up the phone and called the preschool to double-check that there was, in fact, a spot opening up in the three-year-old room. Once the information was verified and I was reminded that spots fill up extremely quick, I spoke with our SFFC contact and let her know that we were open to whatever is best for the girls, specifically if that meant adding M to our care.

The next 24 hours were a whirlwind. It was an all-hands-on-deck kind of approach. With M’s current host family helping, we began the process to get a dentist appointment scheduled and obtain all other documentation necessary for her to be enrolled and transitioned into our home.

As of yesterday, it’s official. M has been accepted into the preschool program and everything is all set for her to come live with us.

I texted with the girls’ mom and she was elated to know that two of her three babies will be living together going forward. Nothing made me happier than receiving assurance from the woman who birthed and raised these beautiful children that we’d made the right decision.

This coming Sunday, November 19, at 1:30pm CT, the three of us will be headed to pick-up M. We’ll be adding another little one under our roof and undergoing the initial transition phase again, so if you’re reading this, we welcome your prayers, encouragement, and all of the good vibes.

Love to you all.

*Some details have been left out and names changed in order to protect and respect everyone involved. 🙂

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20 comments

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This made my Friday. I could not imagine my kids be separated. Thank you for also admitting that parenting is not easy, and in fact it is so difficult. Sometimes Social media makes people feel like life is all perfect – except for in their own home. Bless all of you!

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Aw! I love how it made YOUR Friday! Absolutely – it’s not easy and we’re certainly amateurs learning as much as we can FAST because we have no other option. 😉

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Mandy,

I’m so proud of you and encouraged by your journey. I can’t wait to see what else unfolds in your life.

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Thanks, Holli! Would love a get together with you someday. It’s fun being connected with people from childhood. 🙂

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This is SO wonderful, Manda! I love watching how you and your hubby are learning to be flexible and allowing the Lord to move so sweetly and eloquently in yours and N’s life! Praying for you — as you parent two toddlers. Cheering for you, too! You guys got this! It will be so fun! But, maybe go get a pint of ice cream and stick it in the freezer for those hard days 😛

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YES! Haha you’re speaking my language. I’ve got Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked on my grocery list. 😉 Hugs (hopefully in person someday soon!).

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CONGRATULATIONS!!! How exciting this news is.. N & M will forever love you both for the chance you’re giving them. I know this isn’t an easy time for you and E but I for one am very proud of you both!! Happy Thanksgiving to you all and we all have so much to be thankful for! xoxoxo Patty

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SO much to be thankful for… I agree, Patty! <3 Thanks for the encouragement.

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That’s wonderful news that the girls can be together! I hope everything is going ok with the Mom as well. You are all so courageous and brave in all of this. ♡ Hope the Lord continues to shower you in his blessings.

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Yes, mom has a job & we’re going to see her again Monday night so it’s looking up all-around. 🙂

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This makes me
So happy! Miss seeing your beautiful self in person. God bless you and your growing family.

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Ah, I miss running into you at the studio, Maureen! Thanks for the kind words. XO

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I love this post and how the Holy Spirit spoke to you and you listened. It will surely help in those trying times knowing you are where you’re supposed to be., without a doubt! Those girls are blessed. I will pray for you, your family, and the Mom. . God bless!

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Thank you for the uplifting, affirming words & your commitment to praying for us and the girls’ mom. 🙂

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I’m a clinical social worker who works in the state of Washington with at risk youth. You have NO idea what you are truly doing for M and N. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Also, for helping me with my own personal journey with God.
Many blessings to you and your family during this transition.

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Chelsey! Thank you for the heartfelt comment and for all YOU do as a social worker. You don’t get enough thanks. XO

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Your willingness to listen and put those girls feelings and happiness above yours is inspiring. Thanks for being honest and so willing to share!

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We’re constantly learning, aren’t we? 🙂 I’ve always been an “oversharer”…I just pray that someone sees two ordinary young people giving this thing a shot and they’ll be encouraged to step out of their comfort zone, too!

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Ahh! This brought tears to my eyes! So extremely happy for the girls to be reunited. They’re so lucky to have you & E during this time in their lives. Praying the transition goes smoothly for you all!!

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Aw, thank you for praying for the transition! WE are the lucky ones. These little girls are so special.

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