1 baby, 2 baby, 3 baby, 4…adopt, adopt and then take in some more….
There was a time when Damian and I had 9 children living in our home. Ages 1-15. We have always loved children and knew early on that we wanted a large family. When our kids were older and I was finally sober and healing, I was hardcore into children’s ministry in our church for years! Working with ages newborn-6th grade. I always felt called to youth group but never moved in that direction. And for sometime I led small women’s groups, which I loved, but adults can be negative, and draining or just cranky and done with life. Children, if felt heard, open up and are so positive and joyful and inspiring! Ready to take on anything! That’s the energy I crave in my spirit.
The 1st, our oldest and most planned child, Spenser came into the world 4 weeks late. Loud, proud and ginormous. He hasn’t changed very much. 5 months after delivering Spence, we found out Dex was coming. Our sweet, inverted, socially awkward, Dexter. Who coincidentally was my easiest pregnancy and birth. Next was Gertty, our first of many girls. Similar pregnancy to dex but 2 years in between and whoa, I gained a shit ton of weight 75lbs. After having Gertty, my body was not about it and we decided to have my tubes tied. Only, my gyno would not allow it, as I was still quite young, and Gertty was not even 1 at that time. She told me to wait a year and then she would perform the surgery.
Before Gertty was born we lived in my parents home. We had moved back when I was about 6 months pregnant with Spenser and just couldn’t live on a fold out couch with no privacy any longer. My brother also lived there with his 2 little girls 5yo Amy and 6yo Alice, whom their mom abandoned and he neglected, so we stepped up to care for them. Until, a year later when he took mom back and they took the girls and left…heart break.
In that time we were all together, Damian tried meth for the first time with my brother. He used here and there, no big deal. Meth was my drug of choice as a teenager and I had gone to rehab at 19 so I didn’t mess with it at that point. Maybe a line here or there but I had my hands full with 4 kids and a mentally unstable brother so I knew I couldn’t slip back in my addiction.
Somewhere along the way my brother became completely unhinged. He had moved back to our parents with his girls and mom was out of the picture again. He was so screwed up on drugs that we had to go back to caring for them but only when I tried to discipline them was when Greg would freak out, going off on me every chance he had, talking inappropriately and constantly speaking nonsense. Damian came home from work one day to holes in walls and me locked in our room with the kids crying. Damian had enough and ended up beating my brother so badly he put him in the hospital. Of course my mom would not allow Greg to be held accountable so my dad gave us $25,000, and 2 weeks later we opened escrow on our first home and moved out of my parents. It was tough to leave the girls behind but there was nothing we could do. The state was no help, and would not grant us any custody as the father and grandparents were in the home. Drugs or not, that’s the shitty system. But their mom came to the rescue and took the girls to her moms, where they were cared for and safe, or so we thought, and remained a constant in our lives for sometime.
After Gertty, we somehow ended up addicted to meth. It didn’t last long and never affected our parenting, thank God, but as soon as we started having marriage problems, I went to my dad for help. Our problems were not huge, we more bickered from coming down and lack of sleep. A few times paranoia set in and I became suspicious of things that weren’t happening, accusing Damian of cheating or doing things behind my back. All false. My dad stepped up, yet again and sent us a live in nanny and gave Damian paid time off from work to sleep it off and get clean. After 10 days we felt strongly enough to get back to life and we remained clean for years after that. God has stepped into our marriage on many occasions to save us and our family. We didn’t know God at the time, but looking back we agree, He deff knew us.
Gertty was about 2 1/2 when I decided to finally tie my tubes. We had been working out, losing weight and staying healthy and sober. So we were quite surprised, on the day of my surgery, to find out I was 14 weeks pregnant with our sweet, moody, resting bitch face Maggie. But on the day of her delivery I finally received my tubal, so baby factory closed! We had always imagined having 6 children but it just wasn’t in the cards. We had our hands full with 4, and perfectly balanced with 2 older brothers and 2 little sisters.
Soon after Maggie, my father died suddenly due to complications from his diabetes. We sold our tiny, first home and bought a larger, upscale home in my moms neighborhood to be close. That’s also about the same time my baby blues set in hard, and I slipped into a self medicating depression. Drinking alcohol to drown out my sorrows. And then Damians cousins lost their mom to cancer and their dad was incarcerated so we took the 3 of them in. The youngest brother Drew, went on to live with my sister as her kids were now grown and they took to each other quickly. He was 11. The sisters Kendall, 13 and Jenna, 15 remained with us and we took legal guardianship. A few months later we were contacted by the state and my nieces showed up at our door. Now teenagers and so damaged that the youngest at age 13 had already been to juvie and attended a county school for girls, and the oldest at 14 and fresh out of rehab, had already began drinking, using drugs and was sexually active….oh Lord be our strength.
Not soon after, we had to call grandma to come retrieve my nieces. Their damage was far worse then we ever imagined and they became abusive and negatively influential towards the other children in the home. We continued contact and relationships with them, but the disrupt in the home was more then anyone could handle. I still have guilt to this day for not doing more or trying harder, but unfortunately no amount of love or care was going to matter. Today they are amazing, strong, over-comers. But now knowing their full stories is heart breaking, but encouraging. I hope they never forget where they came from and are able to reach others with their testimonies.
I need to give a shout out to Damian. Because of him so many children were given a better chance at life. I was never completely in a right state of mind, and could never have raised this many children, or any probably, without his full support. And there’s few men in the world who would have stuck around to support this life. But he did! And he never once complained about it! And he accepted and provided for them as if they were his own. To this day, All these children are clean, sober, contributing adult members of society! They have families, jobs, and fruitful lives. They are all in relationship with Christ and we are all in relationship with each other. We even have grand babies now because of it. And I give ALL the credit to God and my most cherished blessing, Damian. Thanks babe, for our amazing life.
We ended up with the 6 children we longed for and actually were blessed with 1 more a few years down the road…Jacob. Our now, sassy, yet humble oldest son, who is currently still living in our home along with our 4 biological children.