She wanted a mommy and daddy

Brittany wanted a mommy and a daddy so bad. Mimi told me that. Mimi and Poppa are the amazing and loving couple who fostered Brittany (and Katie) until they found us. Mimi and Poppa love her dearly, but they weren’t her mommy and daddy. Brittany tried to call them that. Because that’s what little kids do with their caregivers sometimes.

Imagine how it was for her. Learning to talk and not having anyone to call “Mommy.” Watching shows about and reading books about kids who have mommies and daddies. Being in mother’s day out, but having no mother. Maybe remembering a time when you think you had a mommy, but not really knowing where she is or if you even want to be with her.

And then one day Phillip and I showed up at her house. We showed a great deal of interest in her. We played with her and read to her. And she was ready, almost from the first day we met, to call us Mommy and Daddy. Strangers that she didn’t know. She was so desperate for a mommy and daddy.

How do kids do that? How do they love like that? How do they trust like that? Especially after being let down in the worst way. How was she ready to leave the home and family she’d known for over a year to come live with people she did not know? How could she be that brave at 2 1/2?

She wanted a mommy and a daddy. And so she willingly took us in. It might seem like we took her in, but she took us in first. She loved us first. She accepted us perfectly first. She put her fears aside for us first. With reckless abandon, she claimed us first. And she has patiently and lovingly waited for us to catch up. Forgiving our failures quicker than we’ve forgiven hers at times.

Brittany has displayed a picture of the fruits of the spirit while we have struggled with our new normal. Gentleness, patience, self-control, love, peace, joy, faithfulness, goodness, kindness… She has displayed all of these things better than we have.

I hope that we’re worth it. I hope that we were worth her wait. I hope that we will be more than she dreamed a mommy and daddy could be, instead of less. We’re catching up with her, by the way. But she definitely paved the way.

Columbus Day

So Monday was Columbus Day. And I don’t know if that’s why Britt didn’t have school or what, but anyway she didn’t. And since I can’t keep up with everything, I missed the memo that there was no school for her. So I got her ready and took her to school. I honestly had to fight back tears when I realized she didn’t have school that day. That meant all four kids at home with me all morning. And they had already been awake for like 2 hours. But I sucked it up and we went home and we survived. And we even managed to listen to some kid music, make some junk out of construction paper, and take some pictures that I love.

So I guess you could say that we made the best of our Columbus Day. The “topless” pictures were before I didn’t take her to school.

Here Mikey is “just teaching Brittany how to snap” but it pretty much looks like he’s trying to cast a spell on her. She obviously doesn’t trust him. I just can’t imagine why.

Beautiful girl.


Today I got the kids ready too early for church and still managed to be late. I don’t know how that happened.

Today I wore heals. I also wore the pants that I wore yesterday, but that’s beside the point.

Today my kids looked terribly cute.

Today we committed to raising our girls for Jesus in front of our church.

Today it rained! Hallelujah!

Today we took a nap and it was glorious.

Today I watched The Princess Bride with the three littles in the boys’ bed.

Today I couldn’t find the shoes I wanted Brittany to wear. She said she knew where they were. When I asked her where she said, “My not know.” OOOhhkay, then.

Today we ate fried chicken.

Today we went to small group and met some new friends and ate too much.

Today I ate Ramen noodles.

Today is gone. Today was fun.
Tomorrow is another one.
Every day,
from here to there,
funny things are everywhere.
– Dr. Seuss

So, how does it feel?

Some have asked, “So, how does it feel?” How does what feel? Oh, right. I should feel something. I think what I feel is a bit of relief that there won’t be social workers coming to our house anymore. I think I feel a bit more relaxed about discipline, letting the kids get filthy, and the condition of my house. I think the girls maybe feel a little more “mine” than they did before Monday.

But, honestly, nothing magical happened Monday morning. And I don’t mean to sound so cynical. I’m glad they’re here. I’m glad they’re ours. I’m glad our names will now be on their birth certificates. I love them, but I loved them before Monday. But a switch did not flip that all of the sudden made everything seem like a fairy tale. I wish I could tell you otherwise. This is still the hardest thing we’ve ever done so far in our lives.

There was a funny tweet recently from Jim Gaffigan. It went something along the lines of “What does having four kids feel like? Imagine you’re drowning and someone hands you two more kids. It’s kind of like that.” We still have moments where we don’t think we can or even want to do this. But it’s infinitely better than it was 10 months ago. The word “daughter” still doesn’t roll off my tongue very easily, but I remember it felt weird to call Mikey my “son” for a while after his adoption too.

So, how does it feel? Well, it pretty much still feels like we’ve got three kids who can’t wipe their own noses or bottoms. Three kids who can’t snap their own pants or put on their own socks. It pretty much feels like we work from sunup until midnight every day. It feels like God has called us to do something we don’t feel yet equipped to do.

But in the midst of the hard, and it is hard, we laugh until we cry. We watch them all together and shake our heads and grin. We listen to their wacky conversations and know they are God ordained. Our four children are exactly where they are supposed to be. We have no doubt about that. And Phillip and I are doing the very difficult job that we have been called to do.

So I guess you could say that it just feels like family. And family is hard, but it’s worth it. And I guess you could say that it just feels “right.”

photos by Amanda Reich Photography