This spring I was able to attend an adoption and foster parent conference in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. It was so great to be in a place where everyone you meet is in the same phase of life as you. No one blinked when I answered their question of “How many kids do you have?”. There were actually people who had more kids than we do. 10 is usually a hard number to beat now a days but I met a few who had more.
One woman in particular beat us all; Sue Badeau. If you haven’t heard of her then you probably aren’t very deep in the adoption world. She is at almost every adoption conference possible. She has a huge passion for attending and training at them. She has been involved for many years in adoption and foster care legislation in the US. She has 20 adopted children and 2 biological.
When I met her, I hadn’t read her book and didn’t realize what an amazing woman I was in the presence of. I would have asked so many more questions! I would have gotten her to sign my copy of the book I bought. She is truly inspirational.
She and her husband Hector thought they would like 4 children. 2 biological and 2 adopted. Their dreams just kept on growing. They opened their homes and hearts to more than 20 children. I say more because they once moved into a bigger home that had 4 teens squatting in it who had no homes and they took them in too! Now that is amazing. What would you do if you moved into a home and found it occupied by a few teens who had no where else to go??? If you read my post the other day about welcoming you would know that we would do the same. When I read that part in Sue’s book, I thought, this is a kindred spirit. Any of you Anne of Green gables fans out there?
Sue and her husband tell their stories about the many years of their lives with all these children. I couldn’t really gather if all the children lived at home at the same time. Their ages span over many years. Some were moving out and having babies at the same time they were adopting others. Either way, it can be overwhelming at points to try and figure out how the did it. Most of the children had special needs of some sort. A few were in wheelchairs and a couple had terminal illness and were only thought to live a couple of years but lived to be about 20! The exclamation marks just keep coming.
What I really loved about their book was the honesty about the challenges they faced along the way. They didn’t hide anything from drug addicted kids to alcoholism for the dad (Hector). It was amazing to see how God gave them strength and wisdom and the funds to get through it all. More challenges than probably any family would have to face and yet they are still going. None of it broke them. They continue to love them all and their many grandchildren and great grandchildren.
The encouragement I got from their book was huge. Some days 10 kids and 3 grandkids can feel so busy. Everyone needs something. Everyone wants to go somewhere and get a ride. Everyone needs money. Everyone wants food so many times a day! Everyone makes laundry and the pile keep growing like it’s alive. It can be draining. Then when I fall into self pity mode I can remember Sue & Hector. I’m sure they had those days where they wonder if they will ever get a break. One trial after another.
If they can do it and keep going so can the rest of us!
The title of their book is “Are We There Yet?”. We get asked that question often too. First from our children. Anytime we go anywhere. Second by the rest of the world asking if we are done with fostering and adoption. Every journey is a road and the road never ends until our life does. We don’t know what God has prepared for us. We certainly didn’t plan to have 10 kids and more than 50 fosters. We don’t always get to plan our lives and map it out as we wish. Some people try but end up in disappointment and a severe case of discontentment. We choose to live each day with joy, seek God’s plan and let Him bring the children that are meant to be part of our family into it.
Life is much easier when you don’t try to control it all. I think anxiety is on the rise today because we seem to think we need to control the world and everything and everyone in it. When we let go of that silly notion we can be free to enjoy life however it is. No matter what twists and turns are thrown in your path you can go with the flow.