today i’m 41

in june 2014 a baby boy was born, a sibling to the kiddos we were fostering at the time. he was born on my birthday and we were open to having him placed with us if need be. the court placed him with relatives. we thought that part of the story was over, but six weeks later, he came to live with us.

in june 2015 we were preparing to lose him. in march i lost my faith. but in june i got it back, even though we made a transition plan for him to leave us. we celebrated his first birthday, and my 39th, and the next day he left for a five day visit. we felt as if someone was literally tearing our hearts out of our chest. that visit only lasted two days. but visits did continue off and on for several months.

in june 2016 i wrote about 40 things i’ve learned on my journey to 40. today i’m 41 so i could add one thing to that list. or, i could make a new list. but lately i have been thinking about how i’m not really who i thought i would be and how my life looks nothing like i thought it would. then i realized, i am who i thought i would be, but my life still looks nothing like i thought it would.

i am who i thought i would be because years ago i chose to follow Jesus. and for years i’ve told Him i want to be who He wants me to be. i want to live with open hands. i want to follow where He leads me.

i thought my life would look cleaner than it is. i thought it would be easier. i thought i’d have less children. i thought adoption would come much later, after i had raised biological children. i thought i’d have more free time. i thought i’d drive a black range rover.

instead my life is messy. so messy i can’t stand it sometimes. and it’s so hard that i often  want to run from it. there are nine children. nine. it’s been this way for a year and a half almost and i still can’t wrap my mind around it. and those biological children? there are none. i’ve never even been pregnant. free time? i usually get that when i’m on the toilet. or on a late night target run. a black range rover? nope, a 12 passenger ford.

last year, for my 40th, my dearest friends threw a surprise dinner party for me.
i wore a long black dress with skinny straps. it didn’t quite fit the way i wanted it to so i vowed to myself that it would fit better for my 41st birthday. it doesn’t. my body hasn’t changed much over the past year. but as the Lord continues to mold and shape my life as i follow Him, He has allowed me to adopt four more of our nine kiddos.

these three in november of 2016.

and this one, just last month. the one who shares my birthday, the one we almost lost.

what an absolute honor and privilege to share a birthday with this boy and to get to be a mama to him. 41 and 3.


  • Lori Keim

    So beautiful! What an amazing journey- what blessings your little ones have being loved by you.

  • Lisa Gladieux

    Kirsten, I am so happy for you and Josh. I know it’s not sways been an easy path to walk on, but my heart is full of joy for these kiddos. Every child has a right to a loving family, but to get you and Josh as parents…JACKPOT! Happy birthday and I’m sure God will continue to bless your family.

  • Kate Burke

    I know we didn’t know each other long but you and the women I met while living in AKRON for those 2 years had a huge impact on me. I still think of you ladies often and have prayed for you during your journey these last 7 years. It has been an honor and blessing to watch your family grow especially watching the love that you have poured into those 9 little lives. You have been an encouragement and a blessing to so many around you. I pray continually for strength, wisdom and energy for you and your husband as you raise all those beautiful children. God bless you.

  • Deb Phalen

    Thank you for sharing your life with so many. I love your story and wish I lived closer to help you with grand mothering care!!!! Six of our grandchildren have been adopted and so we LOVE adoptive parents!!! God bless you this day and this year!

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