I’ve been in a terrible rut lately (or slump, or valley, or whatever you want to call it), and have been thoroughly unable to bring myself to write any posts.  Over the past 6 weeks, I’ve only written two posts, and they were both about a cat.  I’d decided to scale back my home based business posts and write about more “personal” things like family, homeschooling, faith, or anything else that happened to pop into my head at any given time.  Sounds simple enough, right?  Well, turns out it hasn’t been so simple, as I have had absolutely no idea what to write about.  No matter how hard I tried, I just could not come up with a topic.  I didn’t want to just write about anything just for the sake of writing something – despite how these few rambling lines might seem to contradict that statement.  How could a guy who often fails to keep his mouth shut, be at such a point – speechless, utterly without speech (for you Seinfeld fans)?  And then something finally popped into my head . . .

My wife and I have 9 children, ranging in age from 17 years all the way down to 2 years.   As much fun and joy as we’ve had loving these children, it’s not always an easy life for us.  I have been changing diapers for 17 straight years.  I’ve worried and fretted that I haven’t done enough for our older children as the younger ones entered the picture.  I’ve worried and fretted that I haven’t done enough with our younger ones.  I’ve worried and fretted that I haven’t paid enough attention to my wife.  Do you see a common theme here?  For whatever reason, being happy and carefree has never been something that’s come easily for me.  I’ve often said that I don’t have the kind of personality that can raise (or rear, I never seem to get that right) this many children, yet here I am and here they are.  And I wouldn’t trade my situation for the world.  I love my kids and my wife dearly, although it doesn’t always show.  And I know that they love me, even when I am less than lovable.

 

With 11 family members, there are no shortages of birthdays to celebrate!

Mac and Cheese - you just can't beat it with a stick!

 

So, it’s with this backdrop that we’ve undertaken a new step in our lives:  We have submitted our letter of intent to an agency in China so that we can adopt a girl who is less than 1 year away from aging-out of the system.  This girl, who is considered special needs, will turn 14 next year, and if she has not been adopted by then, she never will be.  She is an orphan, and has never known a family of her own – no mother or father, no siblings or cousins.  An orphanage has been her “home,” and she wants a forever family.  She’s watched friends get their families, and still she waits.  Well, God willing, she will not have to wait much longer before she becomes a part of OUR family.  I may not be perfect, but I think I can be “daddy” to one more child.  Despite my flaws and my thoughts that sometimes life is hard, I want to give this precious child a family – OUR family.  And I’m not alone – my wife and children want her to be loved by us, too.

So, we’ve embarked on a new journey.  We’re nervous, hopeful, maybe a tad scared, but we also feel called to be her family.  We can love her and give her the home that she has never known.  No doubt there will be some rough seas to navigate, but no doubt we will navigate them.  She will be nervous and scared to leave behind everything she has known, but she also knows that she wants to be a part of a forever family.  Besides, sometimes we have ice cream for breakfast!

 

Ice Cream - it's not just for breakfast anymore!

 

We do not yet have our pre-approval, but we are praying that that happens very soon.  Much paperwork will need to be submitted, and funds will need to be raised, but we know that we can “do all things through Christ who strengthens” us.  Will you pray with us?

– Mark