From 4 to 5

On August 25th, 2011, our family officially expanded from 3 to 4. In Evansville, IN, on a morning that otherwise probably wasn’t exceptional, my son made his way into this world. Things that I remember about that morning: Sydney was with my parents and would meet us there sometime after Caleb was born; a song by Linkin Park was playing on the radio on the way to the hospital; the staff at Deaconess were incredible in getting us comfortable and settled in the hospital; Scott and Vanessa Kiser would show up to visit us later that afternoon (or maybe the next day). Oh, and one other thing, this would probably be the last time that we would be doing this.

My wife’s body does not handle pregnancy well. Her pregnancy with Sydney was very difficult and she was in labor for over 30 hours before an emergency c-section had to be performed. When she became pregnant the second time, we were advised by doctors to seriously consider abortion. We were told that, even if we chose to carry Caleb full term, that future pregnancies should be avoided at all costs.

This broke my wife’s heart as it has always been her dream to have a large family. She grew up in a larger family than I did. When we first started discussing marriage, she asked me how many kids I would want. I said two. She said five or six.

Five or six kids?????

That number still seems really high to me. Of course, I say this like I haven’t had that many kids in my care for the last decade. Working in residential care provided us with a large family, just not our own children. When we had a full cottage, we would have 10 children in our care (counting our own). But, it was different. These weren’t our children and most of them were near adulthood. Within a year of arriving at our house, they would either return to their parents or transition into the adult world.

When we left residential care a year ago, we began the discussion of adopting (actually, that conversation has been going on for a few years now). We bought a home with more space than we needed with the intention of growing our family. We just didn’t see this move coming.

A couple of months ago, we received word that one of the boys who was in our care in Virginia was in limbo. What I mean by that is that he did not need to be in a behavioral facility but it would not be ideal for him to return home either. The conversation between Elisa and me was very short. Mysaiah could come and live with us. I mean, we had to look at our budget and make sure that we could provide for him, but our hearts were set already. If the money was there, our home would be available.

Elisa contacted Patrick Henry Family Services to begin the process of bringing Mysaiah to Highland, IL. Since he had lived with us for nearly a year in Virginia, Mysaiah’s parents were open to him coming to stay with us. Elisa has made three trips to Virginia in the last two months in order to get things ready for Mysaiah to come here. Actually, just before I began typing, I got off the phone with her. She and Mysaiah are crossing the Blue Ridge Mountains with his stuff.

They are on their way.

I’m so excited (and a little nervous). He will be living with us for at least the next two years. It’s funny. He was out here over spring break and we had a conversation about his stay. He said, “So, I can stay with you until I’m 18 and then what?” I just laughed. Mysaiah, you can stay with us as long as you need.

Nine years ago, we were loading up a U-haul in preparation for our move to Carmi where we would begin our journey through residential care. I pastored at a church in Ashmore, IL at the time. I told my (at that time) three-year-old daughter that we would be moving from the parsonage to another house.

Her reply was, “Why daddy? Is this house broken?”

Little did we know where this journey would take us.

When we loaded up that U-haul nine years ago, it took us down a road that wound all the way back to Highland, IL where our family has now grown to five.

Life is Strange. Live it Well.

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