I have two new loves in my life. A few months ago, our family grew a little bit bigger. I had always thought that our family was perfect. But when I met these little guys, I knew that we had grown in to something even better. Today I’m sharing how adoption has touched my family – spoiler alert – it’s totally amazing.
While my sister and her family live out-of-state, we are super lucky to have my husband’s sister (and close friend of mine) and her family, close by. Our boys video chat on the computer and play video games together. Both of my boys adore their oldest cousin (a tweenager) and tolerate her chasing them with makeup brushes. And we love spending all the holidays with them. My sister-in-law and brother-in-law have had it on their hearts to foster to adopt for years. They are amazing people full of faith, grace and the biggest hearts God has ever given. When they began talking about it (I can remember it coming up before they were even married) it made perfect sense. That’s not to say there weren’t questions about how that would affect the larger family. As a close-knit group, we have our dynamic pretty well figured out. But when they began taking the necessary steps to become certified to be a foster family, any doubts went away and was replaced by excitement.
My husband and I immediately began talking to our kids about what having foster or adopted kids would mean for our family. They were so excited at the possibility of having more cousins. We also talked about the challenges we might find. I’m not going to talk about how these sweet little boys came to be in the foster care system, that is their story to tell. But when we explained to our boys a little bit about what their life experience had been like, you could sense a readiness to embrace these kids. They had soft hearts, ready to face any challenges we might encounter and a bit of protectiveness for these little boys they hadn’t even met yet.
We let my sister-in-law guide how she would introduce their new boys to the rest of the family. Our first meeting was at their home and we tried to let them take their time getting to know us but it was hard. I can’t even imagine what these boys must have thought about all these new people trying to hug and love them. It had to be overwhelming. That first visit wasn’t without tantrums but I fell in love with my new nephews and so did the kids (of course my husband did too!). The new cousins LOVE car racing. So the kids were able to bond by “racing” around the pool like a racetrack. All the adults have also raced at one point or another. I think it may be my new work out routine…We’ve created “pit stops” (that’s my son “changing a tire” above) so that we can sit still and not have to run…it’s genius. The older kids are really enjoying getting to learn more about their cousins and I LOVE to hear my (up to this point) only nephew talk about his “brothers”. Not only are we figuring out how to blend as a new family unit, we are also remembering what it is like to deal with toddlers again. But my sister-in-law is a natural. And her whole family has risen to any challenge that has come up. I never had a worry about the kids getting along, but it SO amazing to see them bond. It’s like these boys have been part of our family forever. I know that it is really easy to come in, play for a while and then go home. The real magic is what happens when we leave and my sister-in-law’s family goes back to their routines and every day life. They have put their focus square on these boys and have been such a tremendous source of inspiration for me of being truly selfless and giving. From the way my niece helps out to the way my nephew plays with them. I love seeing all of it.Foster care can be a difficult situation not only for the kids but for the family’s who decide to open their lives to the kids who need them. I have cried so many times just thinking about what a huge thing this is for my sister-in-law’s family to do. To be able to provide these kids so much love, and safety and security, man! Excuse me while I wipe off my keyboard…I can’t even wait for the day that they adopt these kids and they can be a permanent part of our family forever.
To see the family, our new family, it feels like it has always been this way. They love so fully and each time we hang out with them, we become even more bonded. Their snuggles and hugs make me smile like a crazy person. They bring lessons and challenges, for sure. But mostly they bring blessings and for that we are truly grateful. Even though we are one step removed from the foster system and adoption, it has been such an amazing way to talk about some big topics with our own kids. This experience will help them to learn more about gratitude, charity, compassion, and so much more. I have been wanting to share this story with you but wanted to find the perfect time. When this post opportunity came up, it made perfect sense. I decided to share how our family has been touched by adoption to celebrate National Adoption Day which falls on November 21. Honey Maid is helping to bring awareness to this fantastic day through their ‘This is Wholesome’ campaign. The campaign is all about how no matter what your family makeup looks like, it’s perfect. The idea of a traditional American family is not what it used to be, which in my opinion, is awesome. Honey Maid has long recognized and celebrated this fact and focus, instead, on how wholesome, family connection remains the same. Similarly, Honey Maid’s wholesome products have changed over time and include a wide variety of snacks free from high fructose corn syrup or artificial colors. Play time is very important to our kids so snack time means we look for things that are simple and fast. Bonus if it is healthy too.
I was hesitant about being paid to share this story as it was something I wanted to do anyway. The money received for this post will go towards holiday shopping for my two new nephews and also towards sending them to a local attraction that I know they will LOVE! Thank you for supporting brands, like Honey Maid, that support amazing causes including providing healthy snacks to our families.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.