Several years ago, soon after bringing Hailee and Harper home from Ukraine, I shared my heart here on a topic that many, many people ask us about. In fact, it’s often one of the first things that people ask me as they get to know our family. I understand! It’s a big issue.
“What will your future look like?”
“How will you feel when all of your kids have left the house and you still have children at home who are dependent on you for life?”
“Will you ever wish you had an empty nest?” someone recently asked me again. And so I thought I would come back here and share some thoughts on how we see things regarding raising children who will need us into their adult years.
Of course it’s so very important (and a crucial step forward!) to consider the future when adopting children who have special needs. And I strongly encourage any family just starting out on their adoption journey to carefully and prayerfully consider what their hopes and dreams for their future are before committing to bringing home a child who may end up being dependent on them for the rest of their lives. Bringing a child into your home who will more than likely live with you always is something that families like ours need to have absolute peace about before moving on to the next step in the adoption process. Often it’s so hard to think beyond those early childhood years. But children all grow up and we really do need to be prepared as they get into adulthood. Time flies! It’s hard for me to believe that two of our disabled children are already nineteen and nearly seventeen. We blinked, and here we are facing their adult years.
For us these days, the empty nest thing is not something that we ever really think about, to be honest. The Lord gave us such peace about our future so many years ago as we prayed about bringing home the first child we knew would always be with us. The topic recently came up again as we thought about several friends who had raised their children and now have so much more freedom in their days. As I drove home alone in my car a few days ago, I wondered what that season of life would feel like for me. When our last able-bodied teenager leaves our home, how will I feel? Will I long for a quiet house? Will I miss the opportunity to travel off on some grand adventures with my husband? I can’t say for sure because I’m not there yet. I’m pretty sure there will be those days when a Caribbean cruise sounds lovely compared to the daily medical stuff, the endless diapers, or the figuring out what meals to prepare for the seven hundred and seventieth time this year. And I may have days when reading friends’ Facebook posts about their exciting travels may make me wish for a moment that I too could travel. I’m human.
But right now, right here…in the daily navigating of this messy, busy, beautiful, not always easy, always worth it, unconventional life that God has chosen for us…
…I am so mindful to treasure the precious gift that He has given us in each one of these amazing children who we call our own.
Because He called me by name for such a time as this.
It all comes down to the calling!
For us, we know that God calls us all differently (thank goodness!). I will never, ever become a nurse or a teacher, and I would absolutely make the worst accountant ever because let’s just say that me and math don’t go very well together. Just ask my kids! I don’t even know if God will ever call me back to working full time outside of my home. Our calling is different to others.
He calls us all individually and so uniquely, and that’s just so amazing when we know our mission and faithfully walk it out.
And when He does reveal His glorious plans and purposes for our lives (Jeremiah 29:11), He equips us with everything that we need to accomplish the mission. He gives us absolute peace on the journey that becomes His perfect will for our lives unfolding.
This daily road of spills and messes and diapers and wheelchairs and specialized equipment and medical jargon and unknown tomorrows and smooshy kisses and unintelligible speech and countless doctors’ appointments and the greatest hugs and failures and sweet victories…
THIS is our mission.
And with this mission comes a future where Anthony and I may never be alone. For us, it is just part of the journey to be faithful to fulfill what God has put on our hearts to do.
Raising the children whom God has asked us to bring home is our calling. I don’t desire any other life but this one that He has chosen for me. We know our future is in His hands. He has taken away any desire that we once may have had to be empty nesters–to look forward to that day when it would just be the two of us making memories together. We just don’t think about it anymore. This life that we live? It’s so fleeting and so temporary and we don’t want to miss out on a single blessing along the way–today, tomorrow, and forever and ever.
We’ll just continue to make memories with the ones we still have in our home.
We believe in living each day the Lord has blessed us with to the fullest–whether we have nine children at home, or five. Will it always be easy? Heavens, no! There will probably be many times when Anthony and I will long for moments alone together. But I know my God–I know that when those times come, He will always provide a way to bless us with the desire of our hearts. He’s just so good like that. Always has been, always will be.
We feel so blessed. The Father is so faithful to provide and care for every need that we have. But our greatest blessing here on earth always will be this one thing…
He chose us.
By His amazing grace He chose two clueless, very ordinary but willing people to be the parents to the most amazing children ever. What a joy it is going to be to share the rest of our lives with them–no matter what that looks like! We’ll take it all and with amazing grace on our side, we’ll navigate the good, the hard, the easy, the painful and everything in between as our children grow up.
Who knows what our children’s futures are going to look like? Not us. We have no idea how their lives are going to unfold. And so we’ll continue to take one day at a time and allow the Lord to have His will and His way in their lives…and ours.
May our nest always be full to overflowing.