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. 🙂