only Jesus

i. am. exhausted.

my whole body aches.  i sometimes literally feel like i may not be able to take another step, another breath.

it’s been a week and a half since the three littles joined us and we are just so tired.  every day i think of things to write about, but once the kids are in bed, i’m just too tired to sit down and get out any coherent thoughts.

we’ve been up too late and up too early.  we’ve been up in the middle of the night because someone couldn’t stop coughing so he couldn’t sleep and then once he was up, didn’t want to go back to sleep.  he wanted to be held because he needs to know he’s safe and loved.  we’ve been up in the middle of the night because someone missed his mommy.  i will tell you, there are no words to adequately soothe that ache, no matter how bad the situation actually was.

days have been long and hard.  we’ve had a 16 month old bang his head into the floor for reasons we have yet to determine.  too tired?  too hungry?  too chaotic?  too much instability now being rocked by stability?

we’ve had a three year old revert to infancy.  pretending to cry, wanting to be held and carried, wanting to sit in the highchair, wanting to eat baby food, wanting to have a pacifier, wanting to wear a diaper, wanting to crawl, wanting to sleep in the crib.

we’ve had a five year old go limp and pretend to sleep at any sign of correction and training.  limp.  on the hard kitchen floor, on the grass in the backyard, in the bathroom, at the store.  anywhere.

i can’t tell you how many times i’ve asked josh if he thinks we can really do this.

i can’t tell you how many times i’ve wondered if we should have said no.

i can’t tell you how many times i’ve wondered if we should say no now.

i can’t tell you how many times i’ve said the sweet, sweet name of Jesus.

out loud, throughout the day, asking Him for strength.  asking Him for wisdom.  asking Him for love that is beyond the love i am able to give.  sometimes just saying His name.

the moments i think i can’t go on, He is there telling me i can.  He is there because it is all for Him.  He’s the only reason why i can do this.  He’s the only reason why i could think of even trying this.  He’s the only reason why i will do this.

only Jesus.

in the backyard, on my knees, pulling a limp child who can’t make eye contact up onto my lap to tell him he’s safe and he doesn’t need to be afraid.  only Jesus.

gently holding a three year old “baby” who desperately wants and needs to be loved well.  only Jesus.

rushing toward and scooping up and loving on a little one who finds comfort in banging his head into the hard floor.  only Jesus.

only Jesus who defeated death.  only Jesus who conquered the grave.  only Jesus who put His Spirit in me so that through Him, i can do this.

only Jesus.

 

our first night

it’s hard to come up with titles for these things.  that’s my first thought.

i’m sitting in my dining room eating reese’s peanut butter chips.  josh is getting some work done since he left early so we could pick up the kids together.

my house currently looks like this.

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kind of hard to see i guess, but my counters are covered and my sink and dishwasher are full.

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this is only a partial view of the living room.  the couch and my desk are a mess too.

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and this is a view from the hallway into our room. one large cardboard box on the other side of the gate.  one huggies box behind that and one right next to my bed.  the hamper is overflowing, there’s a full laundry basket in front of that and another one on my bed.  and yes, it’s hard to see but there’s a toddler outfit thrown on the floor because i had a 16 month old on my hip and the dirty clothes in my hand so of course, i just threw them.

there are five children asleep upstairs.  i’m sorry, i need to repeat that for myself.  there are five children sleeping upstairs. five.

josh and i tightly grasped our hands together the whole ride to the foster home.  our boys chattered it up in the back seat of the van.  they were making each other laugh which made me smile.  when we pulled up to the foster home we were greeted by the two boys at the front door smiling and waving.  we went in and they were all ready to go.  foster mom had already told me goodbyes are hard for her so she gave each kiddo a hug and a kiss and reminded them she’d always be there for them and they’d visit with her soon.  she hugged me as she passed the youngest to me and we were both weeping.  she had to let them go.  even though she knows where they will be and knows who they will be with, it’s still hard.  she’s loved and cared for them for a few months. she’s brought them into good health.  she’s gotten them to eat well and sleep well.  she’s provided love and security.  she’s done an amazing job and we are so incredibly grateful.

once we were home, everyone wanted to play outside.  thank the Lord for nice weather!  i carried the one year old out front and saw our new neighbor in her yard so i went to say hello.  can you imagine meeting your neighbor for the first time and she says, “hi.  i’m kirsten smith.  we are foster parents and we just arrived home with three new little ones.”  i think i’d be thinking, “plus the other three i see playing outside?  wait, that’s 6.  you are adding three to your three?  are you crazy?”

josh stayed outside to supervise while the one year old and i came in to prepare dinner.  my Bible study ladies are amazing and they provided a few meals to us today so i wouldn’t have to worry about cooking dinner for a few nights.  tonight’s dinner was chicken enchiladas and they were fantastic!  as i was getting the table set and drinks poured i said to josh, “are you okay with me?  are you okay that i don’t have this all figured out yet?  because i really want to have it all figured out so quickly and i don’t want you to be bothered that it’s not.”  he said, “what i’m not okay with is you thinking i’d not be okay with you.  this is going to take time and you’re fine.”

everyone ate fairly well and then spent lots of time playing.  they all got along really well, just like when they came over to visit before.

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leappads were a big hit again!

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this child is forever climbing onto the ottoman to climb onto the couch.  i know they do that at this age.  i know it’s going to stop eventually.  i just don’t like it when he stands up and tries to jump around.  i really don’t need  him to fall off and hurt himself.

all three littles are stuffy and we have no meds for children under 6 so josh and the three year old and our 10 year old ran to target.  she wanted to go with them which was just adorable. when they arrived back home she came in singing telling me they were singing loud in the car!  to raffi!  i love my husband.

everyone had a snack and got ready for bed.  our eldest three get ready for bed in about 10-15 minutes.  this deal, with three more five and under adds a bit more time to the normal routine.  i know shortly we’ll have it perfected, but we are looking at a bit of time before that happens.

all the kiddos went to bed well.  the five year old was pretty talkative and active with his stuffed dolphin and fish, but i think that’s his way of dealing with the newness of being here.  sweet boy, he’s doing so well.

i’m tired.  not tired enough go to bed instead of writing about our afternoon/evening though.  i need to straighten things up a little at least.  we have two social workers coming tomorrow morning.  two.  i think we are going to watch an episode of lost in a few minutes.  i know it’s late but my brain needs to just blah for a little while before i sleep.  i also know that lost was a show that aired about 10 years ago.  we are obviously late to that party.  we are almost finished with season three and we are hooked.  don’t tell me anything!  i seriously don’t want to know!

thank you for all of your love and support and prayers.  we have been so encouraged.

p.s. sorry for the lack of pictures.  most the ones i took tonight include their faces.

the reality

it’s almost time to leave to pick up the kids.

the reality is, i don’t want to do this.

i feel slightly ill, like i might throw up.

i want to run.  i want to run far away.  aruba sounded good until a friend told me she thinks of canada when she thinks about running.  you can drive there.  duh!  why am i thinking of a place i’d have fly to?

i want to stay comfortable.

i want to stay safe.

i want life to stay easy.

i don’t want to have children in my home for the next 18+ years.  i thought i’d have them all out of the nest in the next 10 or so.

i want simple.

i want clean.

i want orderly.

i want free time, me time.

i want to not know the need.

i want to not see the need.

i want to not feel the need in my heart.

i want someone else to say they’ll do this so i don’t have to.

i am scared out of my mind.

so why don’t i say no?

so why don’t i just quit?

i can’t.  i just can’t.  Christ’s love compels me.

“if we are “out of our mind,” as some say, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. for Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. and He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again.” 2 corinthians 5:13-15

i am compelled.

 Jesus, this is all for You.

Cross

our last night

it’s come to an end.  we’ve squeezed in as much time as we could last night and today.  our sweet girl is away with school all week so she’s missed out on some of the family fun.  i’m quite sure she’s having a good amount of fun on her own though.

last night we looked at a 12 passenger van.  turns out we will actually need one.  we’ve been wondering what would be best for our family-a chevy, a ford, or a nissan.  the chevy and ford are very similar and i did quite a bit of driving a big ford van in my jr. high leader days at church, so we decided to take a look at the nissan.  the thing seemed gigantic!  luckily while we were out driving it around, we found a ford so we could compare.  turns out the nissan isn’t really that much bigger.

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josh and i both took turns driving.

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i honestly felt like a bus driver.  and josh didn’t like that i was trying to look at the camera while i was driving.

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we really liked the van, even the boys, though they felt intimidated by its size.

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and who doesn’t need a frosty and some fries after a giant van test drive?  it was almost past bedtime, but we realized we wouldn’t have times like this again for quite some time.

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today the boys and i went to lunch with josh.

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and then we went back to his office to see his new work space.

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the boys loved the big floor to ceiling windows.

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tonight we decided to go see the newest muppet movie.

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the boys are fast asleep.  josh and i are finishing up some random things around the house.  we decided last minute to rearrange some furniture in the dining room, kitchen, and the bedroom for the 1 and 3 year old.  made for a bit of a mess, but it’s all back together now.  we are tired.  i’m a bit sad.  tomorrow everything changes.

 

party of five

8 years ago today we met our three amazing children.  8 years ago.  i am very honestly struggling to find the words to describe what this means, to get to 8 years.  it’s been so difficult and so amazing.  i wrote all about that day here.

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i love our party of five.  we are good.  things are smooth and easy, most of the time.  we have fun.  we laugh a lot.  we get along well.  we enjoy one another.  we love each other deeply.  we make sense.  we fit.

tomorrow, these three will turn into 6.

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though this picture is staged, we are all really in a bit of shock.  our party of five is about to become a party of 8.

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and i am grieving, big time.  i don’t want our party of five to end.  i. love. us. and it breaks my heart that we are changing because once we change, we can’t go back.  there will now be for some time, and possibly forever,  more of us.  i seriously can’t stop to think about it or i’m a wreck.  the tears come hard and heavy.  i’ve sobbed. i’ve been doubled over weeping.

we’ve been trying to soak up every second we can as just us.  while we probably should be busy organizing and preparing for the arrival of the three new littles tomorrow, we are spending time just being together.  this is it.  our last day and night as us.

don’t misunderstand this, i am excited about what it is to come tomorrow.  excited, scared, amazed.  but today, today this is it.  our party of five is almost over.