Showing posts from 2016

About Elijah

Four years ago we were packing our bags and waiting anxiously for the final notice of our travel to China.  We did Christmas at home knowing we had a son across the ocean and we travelled early in the new year to meet him.

When we made the decision to open up our hearts and family to this little boy in a land far away we knew that he would come with many unknowns.  Many of those caused me some fear in the weeks leading up to our travel date. Would he grow to love us, could we be the parents he needs, would our other kids adjust well, would our family crumble into chaos and would this adoption be the proverbial  final straw that sends us all to the looney bin?  We moved forward with eager and trembling steps knowing that this is what God was leading us to do.  More specifically this was who God was leading us to.

When we brought him home he was six years old and had been through a lot. An abandonment as a toddler, two different orphanages, and five foster homes.  He has cerebral palsy…

What your Church needs from you. A letter to the big, messy, adoptive family.

I wrote a blog post a while back called "What a big, messy, adoptive family needs from a church"

Today I'm going to reverse that title and write some thoughts on what a church needs from a big messy family like mine, or yours.  I often hear parents lamenting that they aren't getting what they need from others, or don't have community, or who isolate themselves because it just feels easier. There are many people talking about what special needs and adoptive families genuinely need from churches. What I don't see or hear a lot of is the opposite.  What our churches need from us.  Specifically those of us with big, complicated, non-typical sorts of famlies.

First of all I want to acknowledge that you are tired.  Not only that, but you may be utterly exhausted 100% of the time. You are busy caring for little ones with various demands and needs 24 hrs a day.  Nothing is ever easy. Just leaving the house to go buy some milk is a huge ordeal that expends an absurd…

This is Real Family

"Which ones are real siblings?"
"What happened to her real parents?"

Sometimes I forget that many people don't consider all my children to be "real siblings". Many people (including many in"the system") don't consider foster parents to be "real" parents either or our family to be a legitimate family.

 I understand why there are a lot of descriptive qualifiers included in our family but inside my house, in the monotony and simplicity of daily life none of them exist.  We are Mom and Dad, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters.  Every once in a while a prefix must be used in a conversation with a child regarding their family of origin, or to clarify for someone who wants to better understand how our family is constructed.

Biological, adopted, foster, adoptive, temporary, long term, permanent ward all have meaning but none of them make what we do less "real" they are not a part of our everyday language.  We don't…

A Journal of infant loss - part 3

May 26, 2000
Samuel Wallis Burlando came to visit us at 8:04 pm.  God gave us over an hour to show our love to him, before he quietly slipped from Daddy's arms into Jesus arms.  We will always love you Samuel, our tiny precious son.

May 29, 2000

I'm so glad it's a long weekend. Mom and Dad just left this morning. Nathanael and I are alone now which is nice but I think we may find it hard now with no distractions. It's been so nice having my family here. By a miracle they made it in plenty of time to help me through labor and be there to witness Samuels short life. Praise God.  There were many other friends and family that got to see and hold him too. It's nice to have so much support and love shown to us.

My labor was an odd one. After we went to the hospital Thurs. night I had only dilated to 2cm. So they gave me something to help me sleep and we decided to try to go home and get some sleep. I was so stoned and I slept for about 2 hrs. I woke up in horrible pain.…

A Journal of Infant Loss - Part 2

April 11, 2000

I'm feeling Samuel move with more strength everyday. Sometimes he makes my whole stomach move. I'm not feeling very well today. I'm coming down with a cold or something. It's such a sunny day that I should go out walking or something but all I feel like doing is taking a nap. I wonder how big you are right now? It would be cool to know how much you weighed.

April 16, 2000

I was reading "I'll hold you in Heaven" and it explained a lot of things like when life begins and a baby's eternal existence. Every baby conceived is a spiritual being at conception even if it doesn't have a life span outside the womb.  God knows the days of our lives and nothing comes as a surprise to him. My son may not know a normal life span, as we know it, but he still is a human being conceived in my body that will live eternally.  We don't get a chance to know him now but someday we will see all that he was created to be. After reading that book I have …

A journal of infant loss - part 1

16 years ago today I held my first child in my arms.  Today is also the anniversary of his death. 

He had been diagnosed with Trisomy 18 halfway through my pregnancy.  The term used by medical professionals to describe our son was "not compatible with life".  Those horrible words have been seared into my heart since that day.  I despise them because even though our sons life was short, it was still a life.  His life may not have been what every parent hopes for their child but he was definitely compatible with love.

This afternoon I dug out an old pregnancy journal that had been stuck away in storage and began to read it.  This is where it begins...

April 2, 2000

I bought this journal today because I want to record this pregnancy.  I want to be able to look back at this time in our lives and remember the time I spent with my baby. I am now 25wks pregnant.

I am feeling you moving all the time now.  Each week the thought of loosing you becomes more unbearable. Some days I think I…

Spring Catch up

It's been a while.
Someday my blog may be less neglected and more filled with life but this is not that season I expect.
For now it will just remain on life support.  If you have been patient enough to stay tuned...thankyou.

Life is crazy certifiably cray cray lately.  On the move 24 hours a day meeting one need after another, putting out the fires that come with parenting 7 children, as well as  keeping up with the endless supply of appointments, meals, homework, housework, laundry and child shuttling.  Some days it feels like I can't tread water fast enough to keep my head up, like any extra little thing might be what sinks the ship.  Like stomach flu.  Which we have had twice in our house in the last two months, along with a winter filled with an unusual amount of colds and flus.  I know this season of sleepless nights, spit up, spilled food, and not being able to shower with out strategy and the stars aligning, will end.  Babies and toddlers grow up fast. 
I don't wa…

Two months with our newest little Dude.

Hey internet friends.  It's been a while so I thought I'd catch up a little.  Last week we arrived home from a trip to visit my parents in Belize. It was a good adventure and lots of family memories were made as we spent time exploring the beautiful country of Belize.  I didn't have internet while we were away, and didn't take a computer, so I didn't blog at all about our trip.  I did post a whole whack of photos on my blog Facebook page though.  It you want to explore Belize through photos you are welcome to enjoy viewing our central American invasion. 

Flying and travelling anywhere with six children (including one toddler that despises sleep and change) is a character building adventure all in itself.  Overall it was a great trip and I know we will have an impressive photo album, lots of memories, and hearts filled with times spent together as a family.  Travelling is one thing we've always loved to do as a family.  We scrimp and save and prioritize to make…

One week at home.

We survived our first week as a family of 9! Despite some kids with fevers, a cold virus making it's rounds, a house still torn up with renovations, and vehicle troubles we're really not any worse for wear.  
In fact, this little guy has been a very sweet tempered and content baby, considering the issues he's coping with.   He merged into the household pretty seamlessly.  Maybe we're just getting used to having babies around.  He really has brought out the best in each of the other kids.  It's always a joy to see them so easily embrace a new little person in the house.  There is certainly no shortage of love or eager arms in this house. 

Annie, who is currently 20 months, had a rough first day learning to share Mommy and her bottles (which she had not long ago been weaned from) but it didn't take her long to decide she adores having a baby brother.  Most of my day is spent making sure she is not loving him with too much exuberance. The good news is she has dec…


This year began a little differently than we anticipated.

We are only approved for one foster child.  We are not on the call list.  We had no plan to raise our kid count from six to seven.

Then out of the blue we got a phone call.  We were not at all prepared for what we would hear.  One of the children in our family had a new baby brother.

It felt like a completely unplanned, unexpected pregnancy....and then being told that the baby would arrive in two hours.

Our minds raced through all the reasons it felt impossible.

Our house renovations are crawling along, although we are making headway and enjoying some added space, the mess and work is far from over.

We have a trip to Belize planned and paid for next month.

We have a house full of excessive noise, boisterous energy, big personalities and various special needs.

We have a packed schedule filled with appointments and obligations.

I don't get much sleep.  Annie has been horrible sleeper and at 20 months has only slept throu…