Monday, March 5, 2012

The house that love built

Who would have thought, when this picture was taken and I was pregnant three and a half years ago, that so many changes would happen in that room. It has been so much fun to search old pictures of the kids' room to see how it has transformed over the last three and a half years.

The room started with one crib as we anxiously awaited the birth of our first child.

One crib turned into two cribs with the arrival of our second child.

As our boys grew, two cribs turned into 2 beds (which is a bunk bed that separated into two beds - I highly recommend this - it has worked so well for us) while we worked on bringing our third child home.

Two beds stacked to a bunk bed and the old crib was added back in with the arrival of our third child.

And now, a second bunk bed was added as we wait to welcome Valentin home.

We are leaving the crib in the room until we see what Valentin will be most comfortable with. The last thing we want to do is take a child who has been confined to a crib for so many years and put him in another crib. But with as many changes as he is going to experience leaving the orphanage, traveling on a train, lots of car rides, different apartments, many flights, and a completely new country and home, we just want to give him the option of a crib if it makes him feel secure and safe. Plus, we don't know how active or possibly quite violent his stimming will be and a bed (especially a bed with another child on top) might not be the safest option.

Our house is growing in love, not size, but one thing that had to grow in size was our vehicle. We had a small crew cab truck that would only fit five (very snugly) and we didn't think any of the kids would want to ride in the bed of the truck. So we had been searching for a great deal on a used vehicle that would fit all 6 of us. As usual, God provided the right vehicle at the right time and at the right price (although having a car payment again is something we will have to get used to). I never thought we would be driving a 12 passenger van. The van, with it's removable seats, also provide lots of flexibility if Valentin needs a wheelchair ramp or lift too. With the huge van and growing family I think we have officially become "that" family...and I love it!

Our snug ride before...

Our roomy new ride...

It's funny how Christ, time, and kids change you. When I bought our house almost 9 years ago (before I even met my husband) I thought it was just a small starter home and that when I married and had a family we would move to a larger home where each child would have his or her own room and plenty of space for material items. Hehe, I am no longer that person and this is so NOT that house. I think we have wisely invested our money in rescuing orphans, not in material possessions and I thank God he changed our hearts. Our kids share a room and there just isn't the space for lots of material items...and I wouldn't have it any other way. This house holds some of my most precious memories and it is one of my greatest goals to build loving memories here for my husband and my children. My prayer is that my kids grow up not with lots of stuff, but with lots of substance. The things that really matter in life.

Thanks for taking this journey down memory lane with me. It's not a starter house, it is a home, filled with love. A home that is waiting for you, Valentin.


  1. I love this post!!! It is not the stuff that makes a home beautiful but the love of the people in it!! Soooo true!! We get so caught up in the "must have...." and the "need a new..." thinking so easily. But God says in Micah 6:8~ He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? So happy for Valentin!!! So happy for all of you...Blessings!

  2. Welcome to the van-driving club! ;D We have five kids and got a 12-passenger van several years ago. It was the only vehicle that would hold all of us plus grandparents!

    Can't wait to see Valentin with his brothers and sister in that van.

  3. I love this!

    Nikki - blog design to support special needs orphans in India

  4. I have to say, I have three siblings and I wouldn't change it for the world. I always felt bad for kids who didn't have siblings! You won't remember the toys, you'll remember the fun you had with your siblings!

  5. Love it! Can you come decorate our rooms?!

  6. I have been following and praying for Valentin! GOD BLESS YOU for welcoming that sweet boy into your family!! You will remain in our prayers!

  7. LOVE this post Jamie! We are pretty much doing the same thing. We've been in our house for almost 18 years and I thought that when we had a family we would have to have a larger house. Nope, don't have to have it, just have to have enough room for the number of beds needed. We have room for another bed in Zane's room so...we have room for one more boy. I would much rather use my money for something that is eternal rather than for a bigger house or more "stuff" in that house.

  8. This was so well written. Thank you for reminding us of what is truly important. I think many potential adoptive families worry they don't have enough bedrooms. You have shown it can be done. Children can share rooms and enjoy it. A smaller home also forces the family to be more purposeful in what "stuff" they bring into your home.

    Sue H.

  9. I so admire you and all of the ones commenting for your absolutely mature perspectives. When I grew up in the 1940's and 1950's most of my peers lived in homes of no more than 3 bedrooms and 1 bath. It was snug and we didn't know anything different, so we were content with what we had. We children received gifts only at Christmas and maybe one gift on our birthdays; we didn't have a birthday party with friends every year. I hope there is a trend back to simpler living in our country, less materialism. It is much more healthy for children.

  10. This was a fun post for me. We are a family of six in a teeny-tiny house (560 sq. ft.) and all our kids sleep in one tiny bedroom (to be honest, the three girls are in one single bed, and very happy about it too! but that will have to change as they grow). The whole idea that you need a huge house for a big family is understandable, but just not true. Our family is so well bonded than most (so people tell us), we love being together (I even homeschool) and we love our little house. I love hearing you loving your "just right" house!

    --a daily reader, out in CA

  11. I think it's a wonderful idea, and certainly how we should strive to live, but have you thought of the realities of the space his wheelchair, or his showerchair and all other equipment will take. He is small now, and you can carry him for a while, but it won't be like that forever; whether it's his size, his therapeutic goals or his ability to use his wheelchair/ walker independently that is the cause, it will take room to give him the independence or the help he needs. My house is nearly empty of furniture and my children sleep in seperate ( quite small) rooms, because giving my preteen son the independence he desires and the realities of getting my son from the bed to the wheelchair making him use his own strength and ability to use his body and not lifting him takes space that would not be there if my daughter's bed was in the same room.
    I hope you don't take this the wrong way, I was delighted when Valentin, who's picture I had been looking at on RR for some time, got a great family.

  12. Love this!! The room is so adorable and I think it will help Valentin to be in a room with your other children because that is what he is use to. If he were in a room alone, along with all the other changes he will be facing, it might frighten him more. He is going have so much love and affection and the thought brings me to tears!! I'm could not be happier for him or for your family!

    I need to discuss something with you, but I don't know if your comments are moderated or not and I don't want it published. Can you please send me an email to I would GREATLY appreciate it!!!

    Thank you,
    Denise Godwin