Year #7 started out about as calm as we could expect. We had settled into our new home and were just enjoying life with our three little ones. There were no big or exciting life changes on the horizon. We were coasting for a bit, or so we thought!
Eli celebrated his half birthday!
Malachi celebrated 3 years home with us!
Peter and I traveled with his parents down to Disneyland for a weekend to run my first 10K and Peter's first half marathon. It was the muggiest and hottest weekend of the year down there, but we did what we set out to do!
The math is getting harder for me, but this would have been 8 1/2 years later at the engagement spot!
I love and adore each of these family pictures we had taken, because this was our reality! It wasn't picture perfect and they were going full steam ahead, but now looking back a few years, it was a beautiful time for our family!
This was reality!
We had no idea when we got married about the crazy that was to come! Kids are a lot of work and can be hard on a marriage but we were in a really good place as a couple and a family. Peter and I had grown through a tougher year and we were closer than we had ever been before.
I adore watching my husband as a father! The love and time he spends with them is so good! I love that we both set out to "date" our kids and give them that one on one time they need. This was the first of many adorable dates between these two over the years!
Another new journey was about to begin in our home too. We had decided that we thought it best to homeschool our children. So that fall I set out on my very first year of homeschool with two little, adorable preschoolers!
Malachi started another year of little kicks soccer!
And turned 3 1/2!
Little miss turned 18 months!
We celebrated another fun halloween with the kids!
And then we decided to add some chaos to our lives. It starts back a bit farther in the story, but way back around the time Malachi was coming home, we knew we were going to adopt again. Actually, according to "our plan" we were going to start the adoption process again very soon after we brought him home. We had no idea that we could even get pregnant and we had become wrecked for children who needed homes. Obviously there was a different plan intended for our lives in that moment but our desire to adopt never went away. We knew it was a "when" not an "if" for our lives.
Pretty much out of nowhere in September I started feeling like it was time to start the adoption process again and we had several discussions and felt good about starting the adoption process again, but we didn't "officially" make the decision to adopt again until early November and then it was full steam ahead! Our family was once again growing!
The family was also growing again in the form of some four legged friends. Peter's family had lost the family cat earlier in the year and we decided the "compound" needed a new cat. Well, it just so happened that the humane society was doing adopt one, get another free for the holiday season. So we ended up with two sweet little family kittens - Bentley and Oswald!
The boys were really into the holiday spirit and that was fun!
And then in January we were off on another new experience together. Ever since we had picked up Malachi in Ethiopia, we wanted to go back! About a year prior though, that tugging became so strong that we knew we had to move. I cannot even begin to tell you how difficult this journey was for me and how hard it was to leave my babies and fly halfway around the world for almost 2 weeks without them. But I knew this was something God had called us to do - together!
The trip left us completely emotionally and physically exhausted. I remember moments of being more vulnerable with each other than we had ever been before. Our hearts were being wrecked and it was building this new level of closeness in our relationship. Serving as a couple, in a place that had captured our hearts and meant so much to us was absolutely amazing and it changed both of us forever! It instilled in us an even greater passion for this country and this passion has continued in our hearts and minds ever since! I have to say a husband who loves God and serves others is pretty darn attractive!
Fortunately for me, this time I had many many distractions during the days of waiting! Eli turned 3!
Sabrina was an adorable little Valentine!
And we got dumped on with some snow to play in for about a week!
The kids just kept growing and growing on us! We started getting shown to expectant mothers who were considering placing their child for adoption and that was a whole different roller coaster ride. I prayed that the mother who chose us would feel 100% confident in her decision. I never wanted a woman to feel pressured by us. We were "chosen" by one birth mother and she ended up changing her mind about placing and while that hurt a little, it was okay because I knew my prayer had been answered and I also knew our baby would find their way to us in the right timing. That still didn't mean it was easy to wait, because my arms were ready!
Easter was another fun time as a family and took my mind off the waiting, although I was still wondering just how many more holidays we would be waiting before baby #4 joined us!
Malachi turned 4
Sabrina turned 2!
And then another unexpected thing happened! Peter decided it was time to move on from the job he had been at for the past 5 years. He was ready for some change and decided to try a role in International Tax. To celebrate the new job and also to get away one last time before baby came, we headed off to the beach for a few nights!
I don't know if in the timing we just needed some R & R or what but this was such a nice time away. This was a trip with no agenda or plans, we just relaxed and enjoyed the time together and it still remains a trip we talk about how wonderful it was! It just proves that sometimes it is the simple joys!
Summer hit quickly and we were having a blast! Peter was doing his best to settle into his new role at work and I was loving life with my kiddo's. It wasn't very far into summer that we got the news that we would be parents again sometime in August. We were excited and nervous and trying to prepare, but not prepare too much because we knew nothing was set in stone.
The 4th of July was before us and we had a great time with our little family before it was going to grow again. There is something amazing about trying to savor the way things are in the moment before they change and yet anticipating the change that is to come. We knew things could change quickly after the 4th and sure enough we were right!
But we still had a few weeks to enjoy our little and crazy family!
But then we got word that it was time to head to Florida. Thing were happening quickly and we needed to be ready to meet our little one. So we booked some last minute flights and were on our way! Oh man, the nervous anticipation as we really didn't know what was about to happen. It was a fun little roller coaster to be enjoying together. We were told to expect things to happen in an entirely different fashion than they did and we just rolled with the punches. We were told to just hang out and they would let us know when to come to the hospital, likely after the baby was born but a little bit later we were told to come right away because our birth mother wanted us there with her. Eek! Crazy turn of events but we were going!
On our way to the hospital, becoming parents again!
After a quick labor and a crazy afternoon, we welcomed our second sweet daughter into the world! We had been told we were getting a girl, then a boy, then a girl again so we didn't REALLY know what this baby would be and we were okay with that! We were supposed to be in the room but unfortunately JUST missed her birth, but I will still never forget our birth mother calling us and saying "she's here!" as I was in complete shock that it happened so quickly! I will never forget walking in the room to meet this tiny little bundle in her first mama's arms and her handing her over to me! It was so profound and so special!
Before long we were whisked off into a separate room and we got to spend some time getting to know her. We texted out pictures and info to people and savored our first hour together.
Eventually they took her back to the nursery for some tests and then we got in more snuggles and then went to spend time with her and her birth mother. It was getting late and we were all emotionally exhausted from the day so we took her back to the nursery. It was hard to leave her but the hospital had no where for us to stay so we had no choice. We promised to return early in the morning and I know her first mama snuck in some snuggles during the night too which I think was good for both of them.
We did sneak in a quick lunch break, there was no time for a romantic meal out but we did savor a little bit of time together, relishing in the moment of new parenthood again! We were also dealing with some pretty heavy emotions in with that joy as one could imagine given the circumstances.
I will never forget our time spent late into the night with our birth mother and baby. The days in the hospital were so long but they were also sacred. This was not a typical way AT ALL to spend ones anniversary but that was okay. Our hearts were growing and changing. Peter spent our anniversary serving and showing love to another woman who I know for a fact had not experienced love in that way from a man before. And I loved him for it! I wouldn't have traded a moment of that day.