2018 has been the weirdest year on record for our family. We started with a house flood on New Year’s Eve that forced us to move into base housing. We were so grateful to be able to move quickly, and looking back, it allowed us some time to regroup and reflect.
In the process of moving, my paternal grandfather passed away. Less than a week later, my maternal grandmother passed away. Between those two funerals, we welcomed our foster daughters’ newborn sister into our home.
Before she was born, we found a family who shared our philosophy about the fostering journey and welcomed us with open arms as they also welcomed their first foster placement. The hitch was that they had a family vacation planned the first two weeks of February, and of course, Baby K arrived three weeks early on February 3rd. Once they returned from vacation, we transitioned her to their home and started one of the most crucial family friendships of our lives.
Shortly after, one of Scott’s childhood friends died suddenly, making our third funeral in as many weeks. To round out a whirlwind two months, I had a scheduled surgery that went well but required several weeks of rest and immense amounts of help from my people.
And that was just January and February.
Scott left on orders at the end of May, spending the summer in OK before moving permanently to WA. The kids and I are still in IL until we have some resolution with the girls’ cases. I’ve written extensively on the blog about what’s happening re: foster care, so I won’t spend much time on that here, but suffice it to say, we are committed to seeing the best for our girls.
The fall brought a new normal as we started navigating what it looks like to support two households thousands of miles apart. So far, we have been able to see Scott for at least a few days every month, and we are thankful that he has been able to work his schedule to make this happen.
The kids: Will turned 13 in September, and he and I went on an epic NYC adventure in his honor. He is still involved in baseball, karate, piano, band (trumpet), chess club, and Boy Scouts. Ben turned 10 in November and is involved in baseball, karate, piano, band (euphonium), chess club, and Cub Scouts. F turned 3 in August, and E turned 2 in September. They both started school two days a week. F is doing ballet, and E will start in the spring when she is 2 1/2. They have also been doing gymnastics and love story time at the library.
I am still running Somebody’s Mama—at the end of this calendar year, we will have granted close to $150,000 to partner organizations helping women and communities around the world. Aside from keeping our household in order, keeping up with the demands of the foster care system is nearly a full-time job as well. I am also still a network representative for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and run a monthly critique group. One of these days, I’ll get something published.
Scott takes command of the 57th Weapons Squadron on December 19th, so we will all be in WA for the holidays and are excited to see our family and friends in the pacific northwest to celebrate this achievement.
This year’s challenges have been many, and I often get asked how I find balance and how I continue to be so positive in the face of so much heartache. My answer to that is another quote from Hamilton Wright Mabie:
Don't be afraid of opposition. Remember, a kite rises against, not with the wind.
We’ve got strong gusts coming out of just about every direction right now, but I spent most of my life in Oklahoma—I’m not scared of wind.
Blessings to all who read this—thank you for being a part of our lives. If you’d like to see some pictures of the kids, use the password provided on the postcard.