"because the only thing better than 4 kids is 5 kids!"
I can't even keep track of how many times I've said this phrase over the past week. Mostly in response to people's stunned looks when we say that we are getting another kid.
Olivia's story is so interesting to us and has made us laugh over and over again. We first heard of Olivia before we knew her name. When Caleb's adoption was finalizing, we had heard from one of the social workers that Samantha, Caleb's birth mom, was pregnant again. This was just information we tucked away in our minds and celebrated Caleb becoming an Andersen.
Fast forward to September of 2012 when Shaun (the deuce) came to live with us. As Caleb's biological brother who had been in foster care since birth, his case seemed to be moving toward adoption and the state wanted us to adopt him - if we were up for it - which we were :) So, baby Shaun moved in. Some time passed and later in September we were in court for Shaun and on that day DSS got custody of Olivia - who up to that point was living with her paternal grandmother. Because of her parents lack of moving forward with getting their lives together, the courts decided that she should be monitored more closely by DSS. Fast forward to November where in court again, the courts moved to change both Olivia and Shaun's plan to TPR (terminate parental rights) instead of the plan being reunification. So, at that point the judge ordered for them to be placed in a home together because after TPR comes adoption - most of the time. So, the social workers talked to us about taking Olivia as well. Which of course we said YES to.
We recognize that this seems crazy to most people, but thankfully we're not most people!! We believe what the Bible says about children (Psalm 127:3) and about orphans (James 1:27) and we have staked our entire life on these truths. and already we have seen God bless us over and over again for being obedient to what HE has called us to do.
As we were preparing for Olivia's arrival one of the specific things we were praying for was Olivia's grandmother. She has raised Olivia her entire life and so this process and the thought of Olivia not being in her family forever are very hard for her and understandably so! We are so glad that Olivia has been loved her entire life. So, we have been praying for "grandma' that the transition would be as smooth as possible for her. Well, imagine our surprise when the social worker came by to tell us "grandma" was totally on board and ready for Olivia to come to our house. Wanna know why? Over Christmas break, Grandma won the lottery!!! Crazy! I mean, who wins the lottery?!?!? Evidently grandma does :) and because she did, she wants to be able to travel with her husband and enjoy being retired. So, it made it all much easier for Olivia to come to our house. I love how every child that has come into our family has such a unique story - but the lottery just may be the most entertaining one :)
So, last Thursday, Olivia came to live with us. Cadence is over the moon excited about her being here. She has asked for a long time for a little sister and specifically a brown sister with curly hair - like her. And so we have delivered :) We have been so grateful for Cadence these past few days. She is unnaturally gifted as a 6 year old with loving other kids - especially her siblings - except when they drive her insane. But literally, minutes after Olivia came into our home, Cadence had put her at ease and they were playing together. I am so grateful for her heart and how well she lives out loving others - even when she doesn't know she's doing it. She has made this transition SO much easier on Olivia than Chris or I ever could have.
sibling pictures to show any family resemblance :)
This is what our table looks like now for meals. Mom, we've finally filled our benches!!
Our lifestyle is a little crazy and so we cleared a few days on our calendar to help Olivia adjust to all the newness. After a day at home, we ventured out as a family of 7 to the children's museum. I counted 5 heads so many times on Friday :)
Creed and Olivia are about 6 weeks apart in age so this is going to be so fun as they grow up!
We took up a large part of the water table!
We're still adjusting to being a party of 7. Everything takes a little longer these days. Getting dressed, bathing, loading up in the car, making plates for meals - it's amazing how one extra is exponentially more work. But it's worth the effort!
We are so blown away by the way God continues to put our family together.