So this post happened because of a joke my sister-in-law made about me writing a blog post about my stay out of state with her and her fam. I laughed pretty hard when she brought it up, but the more and more I thought about it the more it made sense. A lot of people think bigger families are weird and unnatural, I used to be one of those people. (I'm not saying bigger families are for every person. . . ) Before going to visit I had already changed my opinion on bigger families, my trip confirmed my change of heart.
Big families rule, seriously.
So some of you that know me personally, know that my SIL and her husband brought home two children from Eastern Europe last year. They also have two other children (and one on the way). I got to hang out with their crew for just over a week. There's a bit of chaos but it's pretty controlled, it was weird coming back home to my quiet life. . . I may be crazy but I've missed the chaos. I actually have dragged my feet writing this post because of how hard it was for me to transition back to my quiet life after my trip.
One major thing that I really took away from being part of the crew is the importance of not stressing over the little things. The simple life is awesome. Maranda and Ed don't double as short-order cooks for their kiddos and I LOVED feeding their kids lunch for that reason .(Everyone got the same thing and there was minimal whining!) The kids know they have schedules and in between homeschool lessons they have access to the backyard where they're able to run, play, exercise, and explore. My nieces and nephews get to be kids! There are tablets, computers, and TVs in the house. . . but they don't spend their days in front of screens. These kids know how to play and have great imaginations, they bring me so much joy.
S (who once spent all of his days in an Eastern European orphanage) would tell me of his adventures as a pirate and all about the fish he saw during his time at sea. J is the sweetest "puppy" you'll ever meet, complete with doggy sounds. R and D have become a pretty dynamic duo (R lived in the same Eastern European orphanage as S), you can often find these two dancing or collecting branches, leaves, and toys in the yard and making "sculptures" and "machines".
Many mornings I woke up to a softly spoken , "I love you Aunt Family" from R or was the recipient of a random hug or kiss on the cheek. Not because I asked for those things but I think when you have lived life without a family and true acts of love. . . even the little things are a big deal. If I have to sum up R in one sentence. . . it would go something like this, "R loves harder than most people I've met and adores making people happy." Maranda and I would sit on the couch some afternoons and we'd watch tiny R pull her almost 11 year old Brother J around in the wagon. . . her little tiny cheeks turning pink as she strained and J clapping in the wagon behind her. I can already see Jesus working R's life and I can't wait to see her grow in him.
Then there's Mr. S. Before I went to visit I had kind of prepared myself for S to take awhile to warm up to me. I planned on a handshake and maybe a short hug. The first morning when I walked into the living room, S greeted me like we'd always known each other. S is a tiny warrior, he has an upper body that is about 95 times stronger than mine and he is one tough cookie. S is VERY brilliant and catches on very quickly! One of my favorite moments with him happened when we were on the trampoline. . . I was teaching his sisters how to do back bends and back walkovers (when you kick your legs and use your upper body to flip backwards out of a backbend) and he goes, "I try Aunt Family!". Within five minutes this boy was flipping his whole body weight over using ONLY his upper body. I can't wait to see what Jesus has in store for S, I believe that his story will touch thousands.
God places the lonely in families. . . (Psalm 68:6)
Most of you know that I advocate for waiting children on Reece's Rainbow. These two are a big part of the reason why I've chosen to advocate for these precious kiddos. These kids aren't just faces on a screen in a country across the ocean. . . YOU can make a difference in the life of an orphan today.
(email me to learn more.)
I love a good before and after. . . (S&R haven't even been home a year yet!) Once orphans, now beloved members of a family.
This is what redemption looks like.
Here are some children from S&R's country that are waiting for their story to begin.