Saturday, September 28, 2013

From the outside looking in......

 **Today's pictures are brought to you by our vacation over a month ago....because well- I haven't used them all up yet, and there are a million blog posts swimming around in my head that I have to write yet, and by now you are thinking- grammar DAWN!  Sorry....
 Today's post is about something that I rarely share about.  Something most don't understand, and that is perfectly ok.  I just feel the need to write about it anyway.  It actually goes along with the pictures because these photos were taken while the Big D Family was visiting (well, part of the family ;).  One of the reasons Laurel and I connect is because we have both adopted, we homeschool, and we have large families. 
 This is how I feel.  From the outside looking in large families are intimidating.  I am not sure with maybe 2 exceptions that when people ask how many children we have and we say 9 that there hasn't been picking up of jaws off the floor or some comments about wow.  Some people seriously tremble or even blurt out OH MY GOODNESS!  Some look like they will faint.  Others count our heads as we walk past.  Others question- are they a daycare?  Oh no maybe they are a school group (he he he he we kind of are a school group ;), or maybe some after school program? 

Translation- are you crazy? 

I don't think that in an of itself is hard......although there are days I want to be perceived as normal.  I never said I was normal, just perceived as normal ;).  It is in the day to day routine and feeling......left out. 
 Isolation is the work of satan himself I tell you.  Single people feel it, youth feel it, those with one child feel it, those with no children feel it, those with 19 children feel it.  EVERYONE feels it so it's not like I am alone.  What I do know is that when you have 9 children and everyone's mind seems to be blown by that's like a lot of times the conversation ends......or politely enough you never see that person again.
 You don't get invited a lot of places or over to people's homes because of sheer number.  People can't imagine having your family over to their "too small" home.  People can't imagine saying let's go out to eat together (although we don't eat out often anyway) because you would take up a whole section of a restaurant.  People can't imagine inviting you over to a birthday party because your "clan" would be too crazy.  People can't imagine doing anything except - maybe meeting at a park because at least there your children wouldn't overwhelm them. 
 The truth of it is.......from the outside looking in- our family is "big".  Our family may not look like yours.  We may overwhelm everyone.  We may be loud.  We may be different.  I can't guarantee that we won't have people staring at us because it happens all the time.  (We just get used to it and ignore it.  Our philosophy is that everyone is staring because our children are so stinking gorgeous!)  Let's face it though there are many who just don't like being in the spotlight.  I promise we did not have a big family so we could be in a spotlight and no I don't want to be on a tv show ;).  Trust me you don't want it either- that is a specific calling I can assure you!   
 I am not just talking about the outside world though!!!!  I am talking about your own family as well.  I mean what do they do when you come for Thanksgiving?  What do they do when you have get togethers?  How do they handle that much chaos?  What about the noise and uncle Fred's aversion to kids noise levels (just so you know we don't have an uncle Fred).  How do they include you, but have fun?  How in the world are they ever going to invite you over- and house your family?  Truth: they can' least not always or sometimes ever.   
 It is hard to feel that you are a constant burden to others.  In order for them to accommodate your family they have to have 2 extra tables, or have a whole extra turkey, or eat somewhere other than their home, or put up with all the stares out in public, or deal with all the noise that children tend to make, and all of this compounds in your heart because you feel a sense of - unworthiness.  There I said it!  It is out there!  It is the truth of how I feel sometimes.....forget it MOST times! 
It is not that I am ungrateful.  I am more than BLESSED!!!!  WE do have friends and family that are not scared of us, but there are those that are.  In fact I know that in writing this post there will be those of you crying because you understand first hand....and may not have anyone who doesn't treat you like a burden, or maybe are conveniently left out of your family all together.  To those families- know this- I AM SORRY!  I sooo wish we all lived together, but then we would exclude others so that would defeat the point. 

I try not to take offense honest I do, but it is hard when you feel like you are judged by the size of your family.  I know people don't do it to be rude or anything.  Honest I know that it can be very different.  After all I don't even know the percentages of those who have more than 8 children, all adopted, homeschooling, crazy people.  (Honestly that is why I blog because I don't feel as alone- all you wonderful bloggers out there - you know who you are!!  I am definitely not talking about just large families either!!!  You make me feel normal and accepted when we don't feel that in our own world.)

From the outside looking in........ 
I want  to fit in with those of you who have no children, or one child, or 4 children, or whatever.  I love you!  I want to be a part of your world.  I am NOT SUPER MOM!  I am happy just to talk about toddler behaviors, stresses of being a mom, how to stay connected to our husbands, how to enjoy our children, crazy events of our day.  I am interested in YOU!  I promise I am not all that different.  I just want what you want.  Acceptance and for people not to be overwhelmed at the thought of my family.  I don't want to put you out or feel like a burden, and I am not a rock star, just someone who needs other people. 

Big family moms all over the world.........

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


 This sweet cherub was born September 24th CONGRATULATIONS NIKKI AND MATT!!!!! 
 This is her proud mommy and daddy who signed on with Christian Adoption Consultants in May and after having their profile done they were thrilled to start presenting to situations.  They have 3 other boys at home and longed for a girl.  After only a few months their baby girl was born!!   
 They also are in the middle of doing an Ethiopian adoption as well through the same amazing agency we used to bring Jonathan home.  They heard about the Hackett family and wanted more information about how domestic adoption works. 
When you do a domestic adoption while you are waiting on an international program that may take longer (years) that is called a concurrent adoption.  Have questions about how that works- ASK ME!  :)  I would be happy to answer questions for you! 
 Pretty sure she holds the key to daddy's heart! 
A sweet moment for this family along the way was when they were getting ready to leave to meet their daughter.  The birth mother called them and asked, "What are you naming her?". 
I am ready to go home now!  Stay tuned for pictures once my 3 brothers get to meet me!  :)  I will be queen and they will all oooh and ahhh over me ;). 
Have you ever thought about if domestic adoption is something you are interested in? 
Domestic Adoption does NOT take years and years!
YES you can adopt domestically even though you have other children in your home!
We are more than happy to help get you more information and support you on your adoption journey!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

When it rains........

 **Today's pictures brought to you by vacation that happened a month ago.  I am so behind with pictures ;)
 You know the saying "when it rains it pours".  Today it poured!
 and poured......
 and poured......
and poured....some more!
 Then when I thought it was all kept pouring- again!!!
 Sometimes as parents I seriously feel that we get worn and tired.  With good reason!  We pour ourselves into our children.  Helping them with homework, helping htem when they can't seem to calm down, helping them figure out their friends, helping them not to hurt each other, helping them to get along with others, helping them in their walk with the Lord, doing devotions, reading books with them, helping them learn how to fold laundry, helping them to spell, helping them to learn patience (which I don't know myself!), and on and on the list goes.
 Earlier today Jason and I were talking about how we usually can't even complete a sentence- seriously!  It is a struggle.  Then we hold grudges against each other because secretly we blame each other.  Or sometimes our frustration with the day or a certain child takes over and we have a hard time showing love to each other.  Talk about junk getting in the way.  It makes it tough as nails.
 Don't get me wrong- this is not a complaint session.  It is REALITY of our lives.  You know people say to us all the time, "I don't know how you do it".  That's easy- WE CAN'T!  We struggle.  We are not perfect.  We get up and try again.  We keep trying.  We keep forgiving each other over and over.  We focus on God.  We fall flat on our faces!  We beg God for mercy!  We are on our knees!
 We pray together.  We read devotionals and scripture together.  We charge forward knowing God already wins the war.  We lean on others that surround us in love.  We rely on the fact that although we are not perfect GOD IS!
 Today was a hard extremely insane struggle!  We even took time today to go to The Crossing's prayer meeting together to be refreshed and renewed.  It was powerful!!!!  Just what we needed!!!
 When we returned home......the battles still came.
 We still had realities that were not pretty.
 This- this face- is how I felt!  REALLY GOD ARE YOU SERIOUS?????
 I have no idea most days why God chose me to parent our children!  No idea why God chose me to be a wife because I stink at it - A LOT!  No idea why God redeemed me because I am selfish all the time!
 I know for a fact that there are many people out there that feel the same way.  That struggle, that hurt, that wonder what in the world am I doing???
 When we feel this way- bookmark this post.  KNOW that you are NOT ALONE!  That there are others of us out there.  The ones that are real.  That know WE CAN'T!
 Sure there are plenty of times we can or at least pretend we can.........
 EVERY TIME there is GOD!!!!!
 Matthew 11:28-30 28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
 Just take a break for a minute and read over and over Matthew 11:28-30.  As in right now- read it again and again.......let it soak in......let it revive you......let it take over your whole body!!!!
 I guarantee we were never meant to walk this path alone!  We were meant to rely on others and on God!
We were meant for fellowship, praise, worship, reading the Scriptures (which are full of examples of people just like us).  We are meant for:
 Matthew 11:28-30 28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Monday, September 16, 2013

Mini Created For Care Retreat- with Loving God's Children

 This past weekend we had a mini Created For Care Retreat in Ruskin, FL (just south of where I live).  For those of you who know Created For Care is a specific retreat that is for foster and adoptive moms along with those women in our lives who support us. 

It was put on by Loving God's Children which is a non-profit group here in Brandon, FL area that helps to educate about adoption, sponsor and encourage those in the process, and help those once we have brought little ones into our lives through foster care or adoption. 
 Now we have been doing fostering and adopting for almost 13 years and the first "event" I have attended was the Empowered To Connect Conference in February!  Talk about a LOT of information all at once.  That was specified toward helping parents with parenting their children especially children from hard places.  AMAZINGLY WONDERFUL!  It has changed our lives and since then we have gone to Dallas, TX so that we can teach this class to families here in the Brandon Area. 

If you haven't gone to Empowered To Connect and you are a foster or adoptive parent - YOU SHOULD! 
 Then this past May I got to attend Summit 9- National Christian Alliance for Orphans with a couple of friends from the area.  It was AMAZING!  This conference is mean to help teach anyone in the church, church leaders, those wanting an in depth look at what orphan care looks like including adoption, sponsorship, helping people adopt, creating valuable resources in your church to help educate about adoption, s*x trafficking, helping those age out of foster care, what it looks like from the adoptees point of view, and hear AMAZING hearts and stories about foster care and adoption- this is the place to find it! 

It started off 9 years ago with 25 attendees, and this year there were 2,500 and they had to send people away.  Next year it will be in Chicago because it has outgrown the venues!!!  :) 
 Ahhhh........but Created for Care retreats (this was a mini retreat as in not the usual 450 attendees and local).  They are done so the women who are foster care or adoptive moms or those special women in their lives that support them can be refreshed!  ALL I CAN SAY IS WOW!!! 
 This is how we were treated all we were special. 
 This is how we ate all weekend! 
 This is how we snacked all weekend!
 This is what we did all weekend- chat, encourage, lift each other up in prayer.........
 This is how it felt all weekend!  AMAZING!
 Like we got to spend our weekend in a separate space just us :).  It was refreshing!!!
 We enjoyed the beauty of God's Creation! 
 We had a movie night, complete with popcorn and candy. 
 We had sessions where we learned more about racism, connecting while correcting - check out the link above and Empowered To Connect, how we can support one another,
 how to care for the special needs of our children, and what are some resources we can use.
 We learned more about the ladies in our area that we can lean on! 
 Well hello Melissa ;).  Exactly because when you are a mom- you need support!  When you parent children from hard need more support with women who get it. 
 We even had a PJ party where we could ask specific questions about what adoption looks like, the process of foster care, how do you handle as a mom this or that, how do you protect your marriage through the emotional process of adoption......and sooo much more! 
 We had Worship, preaching, and free time.
 We enjoyed the beach and the pools, or simply go back and veg in your room, or chat with your friends!
 We had time with God! 
 Time to reflect on our relationship with HIM!
 Time to listen to His specific vision for you and your family. 
 Time to just sit and soak up HIS GOODNESS!!!  AMEN!  WE ALL NEED THAT!!!!
 Time to ask for prayers for whatever we needed. 
 Oh and more of this! 
 You know because every retreat should include a sunset dinner on the beach! 
 And you know just HULA HOOP! 
 Learn some new moves! 
 Go Irene!  Now this special lady founded 4Kids of Tampa!  A non-profit organization that specifically helps educate about the need for foster care, supports families that foster, and helps specifically to get the church involved in caring for those in foster care! 
 So there you have it! 
 In a nutshell.......
 It was sooo NEEDED! 
A place to relax, learn, support, and let loose!  Thank you to all who made this weekend possible!!  THANK YOU LOVING GOD'S CHILDREN for all you do!  Thank you to all who donated things to give us an extra special time!  IT WAS AMAZING!!!!

Live in the Tampa area- next year we will be doing this again same weekend, and can't wait to expand so that more moms and those ladies who support us can be refreshed!  :)
**Contact Gretchen Sloan the founder of Loving God's Children, and personal friend of mine for more information.  Just tell her you saw how awesome this was and I sent you her way ;).​ or call her at 813-716-5508 :)