Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Finding Grace In Her Smile: A Five Part Story

To Click these links to read Part 1 and Part 2

Finding Grace In Her Smile: A story of discovering love and grace when all seemed lost.

{Part 3: Seven Boys}

My first thought was “Are you freakin’ kidding me?”  This couldn’t be happening.  Not now.  We were floored.
We had just committed to move to Arkansas to raise a group of boys whose parents couldn’t or wouldn’t take care of them.  We had rid ourselves of all of our belongings (except what could fit in our Honda Pilot), gave up our 2 bedroom house, and decided to take a LONG break from trying to conceive a child of our own {don’t you love it when you make such detailed plans and then POW,  ‘nuf said}.
My second thought was “Oh no, we just lost our health insurance.” 
We called up the Ranch to tell them our news and they were still accepting of us.  So we packed up our Honda Pilot to fill every inch and crack we could of our most intimate of belongings and headed east.
We decided to take a couple of days on our journey to enjoy the last days of it just being the two of us, but by this time I was around 12 weeks pregnant, super nauseas and hadn’t seen a doctor.  We took a five day trip and it was the Longest five days of my life.   
When we arrived, the sights took my breath away.  It was beautiful.  Arkansas was my love.  My husband and I quickly fell in love with our surroundings and staff who welcomed us with such grace and sincerity.  We had made it home.  This was where I knew we needed to be.  This was where I wanted to be.

It wasn’t long after our arrival that we felt settled in and received our first group of boys.  There were three.  Soon after, we received another boy just about 5 years old.  I felt complete.   I had my home, my husband by my side, and four boys for my heart to call its own.  But then, I remembered, I was pregnant.
We still had not received medical care.  My husband was stressed for me, while I, on the other hand, was panicked.  We applied for Medicaid and were denied.  I remember the day the call came.  My husband was out of town with the older boys at scout camp.  I had our two youngest at home.  The phone rang and I heard the words "denied".  I pleaded with the lady on the other end of the phone to try to find some other way.  When we hung up, I walked out to the living room, put on a movie for the boys, told them I needed to use the restroom and would be right back.  As they were entertained and clueless of my heartbreak, I collapsed to the ground in my room and cried.  I was mad at God.  Why now?!  We were responsible.  We had tried to do everything right.  We used preventative methods.  We were honest on our application.  We had died to live and this was what I was living out.  I didn’t know what we were going to do.  My emotions took over me and I couldn’t control my breathing.  I wanted my husband home.
I called the house parent next door (who I had become great friends with) and she told me to come bring the boys over to play with her boys while she helped me process everything.  I did.     
We made enough income to be listed in the 200% of the US Poverty Level.  We should have qualified.  But we were denied.  We called all levels of the system to try to see if any mistakes were made in our application.  Denied.  We were honest people.  We weren’t trying to cheat the system or abuse tax payers’ dollars.  We just wanted health care for our baby’s sake.  This process took two months.  That’s an additional two months of my pregnancy I did not receive health care.
But God’s sovereignty remained despite my own lack of trust.  One of the Board Members of the organization was an OBGYN.  He was willing to work out a discount as well as a payment plan that his clinic didn’t offer.  It was a huge blessing.  But it was money we didn’t have.  $3,600 to be exact (not including hospital bills).  We prayed and saved every penny we could.  But our monthly income didn’t even match up with our payments.  But by God’s grace every payment was made and we received care.
Along this process, three more boys were added to our home, making us a wonderful family of nine with a budding babe on the way.  {For their privacy I’ve given them all nick-names that speeks of our memories of them} We had B-rad, a rambunctious 17 year old, Fergalicious, our vibrant 13 year old who really could have been our very own child because he was the spitting image of a personality to my husbands, Flapjack, our creative and imaginative 10 year old who seriously was JUST LIKE ME as a child, Darth Vader, our 7 year old natural leader who seemed to have no fears, Tim Gunn, our younger 7 year old who seriously knew how to dress himself well, Spitfire, our full of personality 5 year old, and our little  2.5 year old Boo who took to me like a child takes to birthday cakes. 
These boys had captured my heart and everything in it!  They were the reason I got up in the morning.  They were the reason I pushed myself beyond what I ever believed I could do.  I had fallen in love and they were mine.
My pregnancy made me feel held back.  I wanted to get down on the floor and roll around in the dirt to play.  I wanted to have sword fights or dance offs in the living room like everyone else.  Instead, I was the round lady with the camera standing off to the side.  But I still enjoyed my boys.  Joss, on the other hand, was merely getting a neglected relationship between “mommy-and-belly-dweller.”  I was too distracted.
I did my best to bond with her.  I felt bad about not being the kind of pregnant mommy had I dreamed I would be, but there was too much to get done and too much in our home I was afraid I would miss out on. 
The boys, however, bonded with her perfectly.  They were excited to have a baby sister.  Each in their own way.  Little Tim Gunn even gave her his special seashells he would receive for good behavior.  He asked me to put them in her room so she could see how much he loved her {goodness, I’m going to cry all over again}.  I still have those seashells.

Months came and went.  Birthdays and Holidays were celebrated and special memories were made.  I remember one night my husband and I were lying in bed while all the boys were snoring away.  We talked about how we never wanted to leave.  We committed to each other that we stay for as LONG as we were allowed.  We even dreamed about retiring from there.  The Ranch had become our Home.  The boys had become our children.  The staff had become our family.  And Josselyn was going to have to join in.  This world would be all she would ever know, or so I thought...       



  1. I swear, this story is a movie. I'm loving to read it.

  2. You are a great writer. I am so enjoying this!!!!

  3. Can you post the rest of the story now!! :) Amazing story, can't wait to hear the rest.
    Big Fat Mama

  4. I agree with big fat mama post ASAP!!!! you two are truly amazing people...taking care of those boys I know they were sooo thankful for the both of you!!! So glad I decided to catch up on my blog reading ;)

  5. Thank you guys! It's been quite the therapy to write this as well as add in a little suspense!