There’s an old saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.” I thought I knew what that mean’t: friends watching your kid once in awhile or teaching them from their wisdom. But it wasn’t until we brought Jaydn home that my understanding of the phrase began. And now after Lyrick has joined us, it has become a very deep rooted truth for my family.
When Jay came home from Uganda it was a rough transition. I will spare you the details but lets just say it wasn’t the romantic “welcome home” life I imagined from other adoption stories I had seen or heard. I was desperate for help. I didn’t know where to turn when I needed a break or wanted to vent. I am not educated in the ways of child development and could not assess what Jaydn needed most. I couldn’t figure out how to meet her high demands while maintaining the health of the rest of our family, let alone myself! There were plenty of opinions being thrown at me but no hands offering to help carry them out. And with three kids at home, a ministry and a priority marriage, my hands were full! Im not saying it was anyone else’s responsibility to care for my family but I could have used a reprieve from the front lines from time to time or just someone to clean my bathrooms. All that life had for me weighed heavy and I ended up experiencing Post Adoption Depression Syndrome. Its a lot like Postpartum but its after you adopt rather than give birth to a child. My depression was deep and it was dark. I had never felt so alone, helpless, or scared. Thankfully I had Christ and I had my husband. Together they worked tirelessly to keep me getting out of bed in the morning to try again another day. Eventually I could motivate myself and I started to manage. About that time my mom and stepdad moved to where we lived and became the hands that I so desperately needed to help me fulfill what God had called me to be and do in regards to my children. It wasn’t easier, but the load was lighter and I was grateful for their sacrificial willingness to help. That’s family.
When I found out Lyrick was on his way I panicked. Like Jim Gaffigan jokes in his stand up routine, “Having 4 children is like you’re drowning and someone throws you a baby.” How in the world was I going to pour my heart and soul into another one? I barely had enough energy to muster up each day for the three! During my pregnancy Nathan took a new ministry position and we moved to FL. Even before we arrived we had people lavishly serving our family. They painted our rental house, set up a schedule for meals to be brought to us each night, and when our furniture didn’t arrive on time they gathered air mattresses and a card table and linens etc for us to survive in our house for over a week without our stuff! It was amazing. Once school started and the three kids were gone for most of the day I could turn my attention to our coming addition. I rearranged rooms, bought some stuff off craigs list and online groups, put together the crib we had thankfully not gotten rid of etc. Other than the staples though, we had nothing for the baby. We started having people give us swings, strollers, car seats, bouncy chairs, a boppy, toys, clothes, you name it! It wasn’t the stuff you would find in a yard sale either- it was all really nice! I even borrowed all of the maternity clothing I wore throughout my pregnancy! Then these gracious people threw me 2 baby showers where I got even more great baby stuff. You don’t usually get a baby shower for your 4th child let alone two of them! I was set up for a great start with this little one. After he was born we had people bringing us dinner at night so I didn’t have to cook and even bringing me Subway or a quinoa salad coupled with a friendly visit for lunch when I was isolated at home with a new baby. It was such a warm feeling. Then Lyrick started to have some complications. I was driving to and from Dr. appointments and hospitals for tests and treatments and our friends were praying and helping the entire time. People were picking up our big kids from school or coming over to babysit so Nathan could be with me sometimes, bringing meals to my house for my family while I was at the hospital, and bringing me Starbucks and Chipotle as I sat in the hospital with my sick newborn. I can’t even list all of the millions of ways people have helped me but I can say it has been completely humbling!
The extent of help I’ve received since moving even reaches into the areas of educational support for Jaydn. She started preschool this Fall and with the help of our teacher friends and the school board, we have been able to get her the resources and assistance she needs to help bridge the gap between her self defense strategies and what she needs to thrive in a family and peer environment. She has made noticeable strides in speech and social awareness. We meet periodically with a panel of people that work with her to discuss progress and problem areas as well as what our goals should be and what kind of placement she will have in the future. Nathan and I feel so vindicated hearing people who can help, talk about the areas that need work that we have observed and experienced with her but could not articulate well or get support for.
Now the saying about “a village” has a whole new meaning to me. A village is a community of people working together for the good of one another. Its Christians being the Church at an individual level. Its seeing a need and filling it, not just when its convenient but always. Its knowing what it feels like to be overwhelmed and alone and making sure the ones around you don’t have to feel that way unnecessarily. Its living within 2 hours of family and them being able to come to birthdays and football games. Its holding a person’s baby so she can sing in the church services that weekend. Its coming over unannounced, not caring if your friend smells like spit up & poop and is still in their pjs at 2pm. Its offering to clean someone’s house. Its bringing big kids home from school or taking them to church each Sunday so mom can feed her new son instead of driving around town with a hungry, crying baby. Its coming over to help a mom struggling to breast feed her baby even though you just got off from a long shift at the hospital and could really use some sleep instead. Its buying fishing poles for your friend’s kids and taking them out to the lake behind your house to teach them how to fish. It’s coming over to help move furniture. Its making a family crafty items to decorate their house with because mom simply doesn’t have time to fulfill her Pinterest dreams. Its praying with and for a family as they journey along life’s road. Being a village member is a long list of ways you just do life with someone and treat them the way you want to be treated.
So if the saying goes, “It takes a village to raise a child,” then my village is stacked because it’s helping me raise 4. Thank you for being a part of my village. I couldn’t do this without you guys.