Unexpected Journey: Part 4

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

I want to step back for just a moment and tell you about our kid’s attitude and response to our talk of adoption and private, Christian foster care.

Our children have been burdened for the orphan for a long while.

When Matthew was 4 (he’s now 14), he told me that he wanted to go help the homeless, parentless children in India when he grew up. When he was 10 he asked for Hindi lessons for Christmas so that he would be better equipped to go to India.

Our children have prayed and grieved for children who do not know the blessing and love of a family. Our children have watched dozens of our friends bring home orphans from around the world and from foster care here in the United States. Our children have asked to adopt. Our children pray for more siblings, regularly.

So when we announced that we would be working toward hosting these two children for the month of May the response was immediate, exuberant rejoicing.

Oh the blessing of teenagers, all those years of changing diapers, wiping faces, teaching, correcting, instructing, training. All those years are paid back many fold as your children grow older. And the true benefit isn’t just what you think when you look at a family with teens and see the amazing physical help that teenagers can provide. The benefit is much bigger and deeper. When you have teenage children, you have children who are able to walk alongside you. They challenge and encourage you to think more biblically. When things get hard they give you a hug and it’s not the sweet, unknowing hug of a two year old (although that is also encouraging), but the understanding hug of a companion who is facing the difficulty by your side.

The teen age years are the icing on the cake.

The cake is good. I love the little years. I love mispronounced words and chubby, toddler legs. I love bear hugs and having the power to make everything better with a kiss, but the icing is sweeter and richer.

Be encouraged, young mama!

And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. ~Galatians 6:9

So when, the day before the children arrived, I began to have serious doubts my older children gathered around and encouraged me.

The foster kids were scheduled to arrive on Tuesday and Monday I was thinking,

“There is NO WAY I can do this”.

The truth is that I couldn’t do it.

But the bigger truth is that I can’t do anything without Him. And with Him, I will not fail to handle anything that He sends my way, even 13 children.

Monday night I slept poorly. Here was my Facebook status on Tuesday morning:

I didn’t sleep much last night. I’m excited about the two children who will join our family today. My biggest prayer during the wee hours was that God would comfort and bless that other mother who is willing to temporarily give up her children in order to get back on her feet….It’s hard to imagine her hurt.

Tuesday we headed to a Cracker Barrel to meet the two children who would live with us during the month of May.

Family at Dollywood with foster kids

To be continued

Part 1: The Call
Part 2: Doubts
Part 3 (surprising interlude)
Part 4: Confirmation **You are here**
Part 5: Happily Ever After

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16 Responses to Unexpected Journey: Part 4
  1. Cindy
    June 18, 2013 | 7:28 am

    “Oh the blessing of teenagers, all those years of changing diapers, wiping faces, teaching, correcting, instructing, training. All those years are paid back many fold as your children grow older.”

    I couldn’t help but LOL at this. It is certainly true for many of the families I know, but I can’t help but notice that most of the parents of the…er…conventionally grown teens I’ve met don’t have this attitude at all. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve been told “Yeah, you like them now, but wait until they’re teenagers!” I’d already have enough money to feed all those teens I’m going to have in a few years. ;-)

    I’m glad you said that, because it gives me hope that if I disciple them now, I’m not going to spend my children’s teenage years wondering where all the blessings went.

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    Shari Reply:

    Hi Kimberly:

    I have read your blog off and on for sometime and have gleaned lessons from it. Even though we don’t share the same beliefs I can relate to you about the teenagers. We have all boys with two of them being teens and they are encouraging, loving, and mature for their ages. I am so thankful for them and they help with their younger two brothers daily. They are straight A students and our oldest will be in high school and college at the same time this fall.

    I am writing this to let you know that other teenagers that aren’t raised in church, homeschool, etc. can still be great kids with good morals, good schooling, and were disciplined effectively without ever using a paddle.

    One reason I am not a Christian is because of one of the comments that is depicted here. I wish Christians didn’t think they were above everyone else. I might actually go for that religion/relationship.

    Shari

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    Cindy Reply:

    You make a lotog faulty assumptions here, Shari. The main one would be that I meant non-Christians. I meant the vast majority of conventionally raised Christian kids, frankly. Another faulty assumption is that “we” (I speak for no one but myself) that we’re above everybody. We think Christ is above all, and therefore that His ways are better. I’m glad your teens are a joy. I simply know what most people say about their teens. Why did that strike such a nerve with you if it does even apply to you?

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    Cindy Reply:

    “lotog” = lot of. Where’s auto correct when you need it?

    [Reply]

  2. Annie
    June 18, 2013 | 8:24 am

    I can say it has been tough not being able to read posts from you each morning after quiet time with my coffee. I have drawn SO much encouragement and wisdom from you since I started reading your blog in 2009. When you posted The Drop Box that was the one thing I read that really broke me. My heart has ached for the widow and the orphan for a long time. When you say your children have hearts for these people I am so blessed to read that. When you write that you feel as though you can’t do this thing The Lord has called your family to, I am blessed by that. When you have written in the past of both victories and of short comings I am so blessed by all of what I have read on Raising Olives. There is a humility and meekness and compassion that emanates from this blog and Kimberly, I am so pleased that your family is doing what The Lord has called you all to do! You may not know this side of eternity who you have touched through this blog, through these posts, and you may not know what impact you will have had on these small, sweet, fragile hearts you and your husband are welcoming in to your lives! You have certainly touched my life and have impacted the way I mother my children through this season of life and I wanted to thank you and encourage you :0)

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Thank you, Annie. I wish I could tell you how much I appreciate your encouragement, it means a great deal to me.

    God is so very good!

    [Reply]

  3. Jama
    June 18, 2013 | 9:35 am

    Back when I only had littles I remember Ann Schultz telling me how much she enjoyed her teens. That has stuck with me all these years and now I understand what she meant.

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    I also have those memories of Ann. I’m thankful for her taking the time to invest in me when I was a young mom!

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  4. Vickie
    June 18, 2013 | 9:57 am

    I never could understand the comments people make about “the terrible twos”, “they are fun now but wait until they are teens”, and oh so many more. We even heard, “you are an empty nester. You and Dave are now free. Why in the world would you want to fill your house up with kids again?” I cringe when I hear parents wishing summer away so the kids could go back to school, then stand on their porches with pots and pans banging and rejoicing as the school bus pulls away. I can’t imagine how those kids felt at all. Kids are a blessing from the LORD. I love the fact He has called us to adoption. I love seeing what He has called you to do. It is awesome to see the kids WANT more siblings even though there are already a lot of them in the family (yours and mine too). What a blessing you are to your family, and the many young hearts you and your family will be able to touch along this new journey in life. Be encouraged to stay the course that the Lord has set. Sure there will be bumps and self-doubts (satan loves that part). But God will truly bring you thru what He has brought you to. God’s Blessings and many {{HUGS}}.

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  5. Chris
    June 18, 2013 | 10:04 am

    Thank you for this encouragement about teens. I am barely starting to feel this blessing as my oldest is 12. I also wanted to encourage you. I know your time is limited but I want to thank you for the time you spend blogging and let you know it is an encouragement and blessing to so many others. Love that you share your heart for a Godly family. Praying blessings and wisdom over your family.

    [Reply]

  6. Fatima
    June 18, 2013 | 10:26 am

    So encouraging to hear that the teen years can be such a blessing. So many folks have told me, “just wait until they are all teens.” So discouraging to hear that. :(
    I’m glad to hear an

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  7. Heather
    June 18, 2013 | 10:51 am

    It is true that we should not expect our teens to be horrible, and comments like the terrible two’s and wait till they are teens, are not helpful. However, I feel like I have to comment that just because you “do” everything right, does not guarantee wonderful teens and beyond. I know so many good, even Christian parents, myself included, who are hurting tremendously because of poor choices their teens have made. I don’t know how many times people have said that having teens while having babies must be wonderful because they must be such a big help. I could only shake my head sadly, and I am sorry to say, I have even scoffed at that comment, Yeah right! There are many hurting families who followed the right “formula” for parenting and didn’t get the “right results.” Please support these families in love and prayer, and not judgement.

    [Reply]

    Pat Reply:

    I have recently been asking the Lord for wisdom and insight regarding this very issue. My children are just coming into the teenage years and I am aware that we can’t trust a formula. I think that’s where we get into trouble. If we trust a ‘formula’ we will always be let down. Formulas fail. We can only trust in the Lord. Because we love Him, we do the things He commands regarding the training of our children. Then we trust the truths of God’s word that we will reap what we sow (Gal.6:8)and that God is not mocked (Gal.6:7) and that the man who finds delight in God’s commands will have children who are mighty in the land (Psalm 112:1-2). He’s given us the grace to live by faith. We have to continue in faith. Maybe the very thing that a child struggles through is the thing that solidifies his personal faith and relationship with the Lord. It can be the thing that makes it real to him rather than just the faith of his parents. We have to continue in faith having confidence that the Lord is working all things together for good. Keep praying for the child, wrestle with God for His blessing and trust that because He is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think and that His love for us surpasses knowledge our children will come to salvation by God’s grace and be mighty in the land. Malachi 3:10 relates how the sons of Jacob were robbing God by not giving Him the whole tithe. God says, test Me, trust me with everything, wholeheartedly, and see if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows. And I will rebuke the devourer for you so that it will not destroy your fruit. And the nations will call you blessed. The people were arrogant and probably discouraged and they were saying things like, ‘it is vain to serve God and what profit is it that we have done what He said?’ We can’t start believing that same lie, that our love for the Lord is vain and profits nothing; that having dedicated our life and service and children to the Lord, is vanity and profits nothing. We, as God’s children, know that He rewards those who seek Him. Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. If we don’t see our children following the Lord right now, we can and should still have faith that what we hope for, their repentance, will come to pass.

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  8. Elena
    June 21, 2013 | 12:22 pm

    I love how in the picture just about everyone is touching or being touched by someone.

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  9. Chrissy
    June 25, 2013 | 12:49 am

    It is refreshing to hear that teenagers can be a blessing. My oldest child is about to turn 12, and although we occasionally get a surly “typical teenager” response (which we quickly shut down) I am not seeing any other signs of the awful things people warn you about. I think this is partly due to our teaching as parents, teaching from church, etc. and partly due to him being the kind of kid who isn’t into that many worldly things and is rather innocent for his age compared to many of his peers. While I plan to continue to guard what influences him and help guide good decisions, I think that part of the trouble for many people is that you get what you expect. While I know he will be perfect, I am not expecting some terrible experience once he becomes a teenager. It’s too bad that most of society thinks it’s normal for teenagers to be disrespectful, sneaky, and experimenting with sinful and dangerous behavior.

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  10. Chrissy
    June 25, 2013 | 12:51 am

    Oops, I forgot the not. I know he will NOT be perfect.

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