2018 started just like the many previous years before it, but also not. I honestly can't remember what we did, if we even stayed up late enough to watch the clock strike midnight or the ball drop on TV. But I know that our babies were sleeping in the rooms next to ours, and I know that Todd was next to me, and that has been the same for almost 8 years now.
But this year, we're in another new house. We have another new baby on the way. Todd has another new job. So it's the same, but it's not. We're the same, but our situation is not. It's been a crazy ride to get to here, this point in our lives where we feel like everything is finally settling. We can see some sort of light at the end of the tunnel, but there's also so much uncertainty. It's weird, living in this space where things are stable but also not.
Our fourth sweet baby is due in the beginning of June. We tried so hard for him, for this last baby that will come from inside of me. I've always wanted four children, and now we will have that. But after the losses we've suffered, its taken me until now to be truly excited, to let myself envision us as a family of six. After our last miscarriage, I told Todd that I was done. That my body was tired, after creating 5 babies in a matter of 6 years. I thought it just wasn't meant to be, for another baby to come from my belly. And so I told him, let's adopt. Let's foster. Let's do something that will make a difference and take away this pain that I cannot bear to suffer through again. We went into it with the wrong state of mind, with the notion that it could heal our hearts instead of healing someone else's. Fast forward 3 months, and I'm pregnant again. Thoughts of fostering/adopting fall to the wayside as we wait and wonder whether this newest baby will survive. When he does, the tug on my heart to foster does not lessen. It intensifies and I feel almost guilty to be bringing another child into this world. I tell Todd these thoughts, and he comforts me best as he knows how. He says to me, "Let's start the process. Let's obey."
And so here we are, 5 months later, in the last phases of becoming licensed to foster. There's a chance that we could have two new babies inside of our house in a matter of months. Are we crazy? Possibly. Are we prepared? Most certainly not. But we are willing and we are able. What else can we do, when we've felt called?
Through all of this, Todd is continuing his schooling and is set to graduate in May. After graduation, we'll have a few months together before he'll leave for school for 3 months. We'll go from seeing him every day to not seeing him for 84 days. He'll be in another state, with limited communication, training for the job that has allowed us to spend the last few months together, move into a better house, seek a better future, but will also require him to be gone months at a time in faraway places. It seems that this how life goes; sacrifices are made, but better things are yet to come.
We are now into the 8th month of homeschooling Aubrey, and I can truly, sincerely say that it has been the best decision we've ever made. That's not to say that every single day is easy, but watching my child learn and grow before my very eyes has been the greatest thing I've ever witnessed. He amazes me every single day with what he is capable of, what he can understand and learn. I feel like he is finally flourishing and becoming something that he might not have been able to achieve inside of the public school system. He is clever and witty (and sometimes too mouthy, but I think that comes with the territory.) He is kind and sweet and polite to a fault. He's a math whiz AND a reading machine. He is eager for knowledge and insatiable in his quest.
And Rory, by default, is learning along the way. He colors and he listens, he watches and he copies. He uses words like "apparently" and has a question for everything. He takes everything apart (and I mean EVERYTHING, unfortunately) and then tries to put it back together again. He's rough around the edges, loud and intense, but he's also so snuggly and loving. We're in the process of getting him approved for speech therapy, but each day it gets easier to understand him, his speech but also who he is as a person.
Emily is a wild card. She's got Aubrey's disposition; sweet and polite and a talker. Literally talks nonstop all day long. But then she's wild and raucous like Rory, defiant and then snuggly all within a minute. I never could have known how much I need her. It always seems that God is giving us what we need, not necessarily what we've asked for, and we are constantly reminded of his Grace. When I found out I was pregnant with her, I had so many emotions. We had just gone through our first miscarriage not even a month before. She was a total accident. I felt guilty for getting pregnant so soon, as if my body had completely forgotten that it had just lost one life, and replaced it with another. I was angry that my body didn't just keep the previous baby in the first place. What was the point of losing one just to get pregnant again so soon? I didn't understand any of it. And then I found out she was a girl, and I cried, because all my life I thought I would be a boy mom. I had NO idea what to do with a girl. And then when she was born, I cried again, but this time because I looked into her eyes and felt her life within my very soul. I begged God for forgiveness for ever doubting him, and to this day I know that she completes me in ways I never thought possible.
So that's what's new with our crazy family, mostly broke but terribly happy, wanting for nothing and waiting for everything. In this next phase of our lives, our motto has been "We've done what we can. The rest is up to God." I think that's always been what we've set out to do; as much as we possibly can, obeying God even in the little things and especially in the big things. Listening to that still small voice and living our lives in a way that doesn't TELL people that we are Christians, but SHOWS them. Through it all, we've been mercifully surrounded by the most amazing friends and family, who carry us when we're weak (both spiritually and physically) and remind us of everything we know to be true.
I'm not sure what these next few months will hold for us, but I know that God knows, and that's enough for me.