Well this post is LONG LONG LONG overdue. I meant to write it many times and then life happened. Today I had the chance to sit outside under a big oak tree, sip ice tea and watch my kids run and play in the sprinkler. There was a wheelchair parked on either side of me and I just soaked it in. It was great. It lasted about 4 minutes before “someone” needed something, but those four minutes were bliss 🙂
We have said soooo many times that there are zillions of things we could have NEVER imagined about our family. But double digits…. we never imagined that… then again, God does say He will give us more than we can ask or imagine 🙂 Yup- He did. We have 10 kids!!!! what??? really??? when did that happen? Life flies by sometimes really fast. I feel like just a few months ago we moved to Texas, but its been two years next week! wow.
So just yesterday- 24 hours ago we brought home our newest addition- Jadon Emmanuel Martin, age 6 1/2. Just 10 weeks before that we brought home our other newest addition- Jaron Christopher Martin, age 6.
Here’s Jadon Emmanuel- age 6 1/2: (his name means Thankful God is with us)
Here’s Jaron Christopher-age 6: (can you tell his name mean’s to cry out with rejoicing ?) 😉
As you may have known, the boys knew each other from school, even though they were not blood related, they were destined by God to be brothers.
Here is their reunion just yesterday when we brought Jadon home. This picture was snapped by Mrs. Farley the second we wheeled in the door:
I just LOVE this picture. For so many reasons. I just love Jarons excitement when he saw Jadon wheel in!!! I love that everyone is circled around celebrating. I love that they are both holding their daddy’s hand. I love that our wonderful friends, The Farley’s, were there too. (They are an adoptive family too) I love that our family verse Ps 37:4-6 in hanging on the wall in this picture (thank you Nikki- you’re awesome for making that). I love that Joanna is just staring at her daddy with this big grin as he grins!!!!
Some of you may be wondering- wait a second last I checked you had adopted little baby girls back in CT, what has happened since then. Well first I’ll show you those “little baby girls” now and then I’ll give you their brief story.
This is Joanna (age 5) and Jaron sharing her kitty with her new brother. And Sarah (age 6) helping in the kitchen. My how they have grown!!!
So way back in October, we went to Florida for an adoption match meeting to see if our family would be a good fit for Jaron. We went in knowing we would say yes- everything had been so clearly orchestrated by God, the writing was on the wall. But the officials needed to say yes. So on October 16th, 2014. They said yes. And we went to meet him the next day. During that visit, we found out about ANOTHER little boy who needed a forever family too.
Then, jump ahead to December 16th, 2014, when we had an adoption match meeting for the other little boy. They said yes. And Jill flew down to meet him and spend time with the first boy, while Sean watched the kids.
It took some time and lots of paperwork! About 7 months time for each boy, which is a little long, but shorter than if it were a foreign adoption. 🙂 All in all, we made a few flights there to visit the boys. Then we drove as a whole family down in May to pick up Jaron in person. That was a fabulous journey and we even got to stay with amazing friends (The Whiddons) and family (The Williams). It was soooooo hard to only pick up one boy and leave the other behind. very sad.
If we look on the bright side, it gave us 10 weeks to really know Jaron better and for him to know us, before we went and got Jadon. Since, we had just driven clear across country 10 weeks prior, and early in October, we opted for Jill to fly and get Jadon while Sean stayed home with the kids. There are only so many road trips you can do in a year… (and we have a special wedding of a friend coming up) so we preserved our days this way.
We will be celebrating our DOUBLE DIGITS growth later this fall in late October when TX weather is beautiful and the boys have settled in. THAT will be some shin-dig!!!! (Keep your eyes open for that)
Here’s the whole crew:
Jacob- age 14 1/2, avid cello and piano player, bee keeper, chicken raiser, entrepreneur, and lover of statistical analysis projects with his dad at work. Great encourager and big brother. Always helping fix things around the house- which is really important when you have lots of siblings the break stuff.
Sophie- age 13, die hard animal lover, extremely hard worker, servant’s heart, awesome cook, takes care of the goats on our farm. You would never have to ask- she would willingly die 10 times for each of her siblings.
& Sam- age 12, goofball, ham, never met a stranger, always eager to help
Josiah- age 12, TOTALLY wants to become a cowboy. If he is indoors too long, we all know it !
Joel- age 12 (well in one month) – Year 11 was huge for Joel, began initiating conversation/speech, choose to potty train (I write this to give parents of special needs kids hope) and LOVES making pumpkin and apple pie, takes care of the pigs on our farm.
Jamie- age 10 1/2- our resident puzzle princess, learning how to climb stairs and couches with only her arms are her big accomplishments this year!!!
Jadon- age 6 1/2- loves music and just discovered listening to extra loud crickets in TX is fun!
Sarah- age 6- her life is a musical- her whole life- did we mention WHOLE life 🙂 she helps Jacob with the chickens and loves the sprinkler. This year she learned to read! She is such a great helper in the kitchen and is learning to help with breakfast everyday!!!
Jaron- age 6- loves to laugh and be silly, loves music and helping outside in the garden. Loves to swing and learning to walk across the room to the piano 🙂
Joanna- age 5- born with a huge heart and genuine love for her siblings, especially her new brothers. She loves animals, mostly baby ones, singing songs and dancing. She takes care of the ducks on our farm- all by herself with NO help (she would want to be sure you know that). She has named all 16 of them with fabulous names life Puff Noodle, Princess, Momma, Necklace, Fritzy Poo, and more 🙂
That’s all for now….. until the fabulous Miss Alma calls again 🙂
We know that in America it’s called a “women’s issue” or a “personal choice”, but in our family it’s a question of creation, the Creator and our responsibility to it.
Below you will find a link to a recent article about this and it’s impact on marriages. Thank you Jeff and Tricia for sharing your testimony!!!!
Read it here
So many families and their children are blessed because of your witness and commitment!!!!
Thank you Jeff and Tricia! It’s always great to read some good news.
We moved in last November. We intended to write all these fabulous blog posts on life and happenings around here…but we all know where the road of good intentions leads 🙂
SO here’s a recap/ overview of life thus far in Martin Land.
We’ve had multiple visits from the cutest cousin on earth, Hudson, who was kind to bring along our Aunt and Uncle too 🙂 We enjoyed teaching him how to feed the animals.
Sophie bought a new puppy, Angel, who was part border collie. As time went on it became clear that Angel’s daddy was a dachshund!!! Yes, she never really grew legs but did get much longer 🙂 She is now full grown and plays frisbee like a camp (even though she’s just 3 inches off the ground).
Then we thought, why not just get more dogs. ha ha. But yes we did, for the farm of course. Two Great Pyranese puppies to join our already full grown Grt. Pyr.. Our full grown one is named, Bagel, of course. And the other two new puppies (now 7 months old) are Chai & Benedict (as in eggs). And we HAD to include a “rear view” because great pyranese puppies have the cutest fluffy butts ever!
The kids have built mobil chicken coops, put up fencing, built barn stalls, planted fields of sunflowers, built raised garden beds for our veggies (raised high for all kids to reach and no dogs to sleep in), built many bee hives (Jacob has 8 now), and so much more.
The sun rises every morning in our back yard and shimmers through our farm like gold dust. It’s just awesome.
Sophie’s new cow gave birth to a sweet baby boy, and our hay guy brought us a baby jersey bull that someone had dumped on the side of the high way!!! So now Sophie milks the momma, loves on the baby, and bottle feeds the other baby!!!
The little girls are hatching baby chicks- such a joy!
The kids bought out the paint section entitled “bold, not boring”, and repainted our playset and added pavers and balance beams too! It was such a fun project, and a great time spent with our new friends the Giblins.
And that is just the beginning of it all………….
Well I had been having some of those days. You know, THOSE kind of days. Days when you think you are not doing the best job you could. Days when you’re tired and blah and just don’t feel like it. Days when go through the motions waiting for nap time to come, but it doesn’t. Sure we would all like to have “awesome mom” days everyday, but lets face it. There are days that aren’t always awesome. Well, I was having some of those days and they were starting to stack up on each other causing me to have not the most stellar attitude around 🙂
Oh sure, I could post all the days that are AWESOME, full of laughs, giggles, and grins. We have lots of those days. They’re great. But frankly, when you’re a parent there are going to be days that have more discipline in them than you’d like.
So, knowing life wasn’t going to fix itself, I got up early one morning, Sean was away on a business trip, the kids were all in bed, and I was trying to read my Bible to set my mind on things greater than myself….. when the sun interrupted me! It was a rainy gloomy morning to start. Perfect for enjoying hot coffee and a little scripture reading before kiddos run wild through the house. I sat next to this rainy window and BAM the sun seemed to jump out of the clouds. It was sparkling off of all the rain still falling. So, I ran outside and this is what I saw at 6:00 am………….
God makes many promises to us in Scripture. The rainbow is a reminder of that.
He will never leave us. He will always give us what we need. He will always give us strength and wisdom when we ask for it. He will teach us His ways so that we won’t stumble. He will set us in a wide and spacious place because He delights in us. He will give us the desires of our hearts when we commit our ways to Him. and so much more.
I love how perfect God’s timing is. I love that on THAT day I got to wake up with a electric rainbow to energize my day. Not yesterday. Not the day after. THAT day- perfect timing.
It sounds crazy. Who would look at pain as a gift. Who would want it. Who would be grateful for it.
Our hearts, our emotions, our memories, our thoughts, our body, our loved ones.
and that is GOOD, very, very GOOD.
October of 2007 –We have a child that doesn’t feel pain. Half of her body is numb from nerve damage of Spina Bifida. She can’t feel her legs. As a result she can’t move her muscles. Because nerves that feel, tell your muscles- hey move!
When we first moved into our old house in CT there was radiant heaters on the base board areas of the rooms. One day Jamie was playing with pretend food sitting right next to one. Other kids did it. THey loved to warm their toes on the baseboards. Sooner or later you move your foot. It gets hot. Jamie didn’t. Time passed. Kids played happily. The house was new to us so we didn’t know yet where a problem lie waiting. She crawled away to another area of the room and I saw her back. Her shirt bloody and oozing. I lifted up her shirt to find a massive burn. She didn’t feel it. Not one bit. Later as she was healing up she would complain about an “Itchy pain” in her shoulder. But the burn was down way low near her waist. We found out that pain was shooting up her nerves in her back!!!
January of 2011– On the day of her birth our dear Jocelyn died. We were blindsided by this mack truck of pain & sorrow. We dug deep searching for reason and purpose in what seemed like a huge hole in our hearts. By God’s grace we found that reason and purpose. We saw a greater value and worth in her short little life than we could have ever imagined. We saw the impact she had on healing so many peoples hearts that were wounded from loss in the past. But that initial mack truck of pain was beautifully hard and retchedly awesome. WHY? Because it was sooo BIG and SOOO PAINFUL that we HAD to face it. We HAD dig it out. We HAD to beg God to open our eyes to understanding greater than our humanity could see. If it didn’t hurt, if the pain had been minor, we, in time, would have “moved on”. OH HOW GRATEFUL I AM THAT WE NEVER “MOVED ON” AND THAT WE HAD DEEP, DEEP PAIN!!!! Because we clung together with our children, we grew closer to them, we sought the Lord more than ever, we shared to Truths of Scripture with confidence and no shame or worry of appropriateness. And we will NEVER NEVER NEVER forget. She is a permanent part of our hearts and minds not just because she is our daughter (of course that is true) but because the pain was SOOO immense we will never forget. We can’t.
July of 2013– In the daily routines of parenting, we catch a glimpse, and it stops us in our tracts. Jamie looked at us with only one eye while the other stared into the distance. We knew right away. Shunt failure. Sean swooped her up and took her to children’s hospital ER. At first, they didn’t think it was shunt failure. We insisted. They pushed back. No it’s not. Shunt failure is sooooooo painful. The migraines alone or so intense that it causes one to vomit. And look at her- she’s happy as a clam. And she was. Now, we had had some behavior issues. But that’s it. 24 hours later she ended up in surgery with nuero getting a new shunt on her brain.
Nothing. Nothing at all. Came home with NO pain meds. NO PAIN MEDS!!! after they had literally just drilled a new hole in her skull, placed a shunt in and had two very large sets of stitches on her head (with some of her hair shaved off). NOTHING. She wakes up the next day. I look at my daughter all stitched up on her brain, missing hair, and I shake my head in amazement of God’s timing and causing us to see her eye problem quickly. I am “wowed” by God causing us to look at her in a such a way that we “happened” to catch her eye not moving. Had she gone to sleep that night she may not have woken up. God is AMAZING. We do not believe in coincidence. It is not of our own accord by any stretch of the imagination. God’s timing was impeccable. I shake my head again as I look at her and say good morning. She says “mom, my head is kinda itchy”. I couldn’t help it. I laughed out loud. I picked her up and showed her her head in the mirror and said “yes honey, thats where they cut into your head for your new shunt. It’ll probably be itchy for a while as it heals” “oh, ok” she says and “MOVES ON”. She did what I am glad that I can NOT do so easily- she MOVED ON. She had NO pain. So, she didn’t care. It didn’t matter.
I could list a 1000 more examples God has given us through our children with special needs. From jumping out of trees and belly flopping on hard ground only to brush off the grass and MOVE ON, to ripping braces off your teeth with your bare hands because they were annoying, or ripping all your toenails off (yes and the flesh too) while in bed one night because they were “too long”, or maybe something even more hair raising than toenails- like twisting out 3 teeth in one night (with your bare hands) that we NOT EVEN AT ALL loose so that you could have teeth come out like a sibling did!!!
and so on…….
next time somethings hurts
next time something wrenches your gut in pain and sorrow
next time pain blindsides you
next time pain slowly etches away at your mind, emotions, and memories……
it may take you time, but don’t “MOVE ON” and be “tough”
there’s no great godly glory in “toughness”
dig deep, keep your eyes open even when you want to look away
beg the Lord for wisdom and discernment, for perspective to see what God sees and not what you see
you WILL NOT be diminishing the event of pain, nor will you “MOVE ON” quickly
you will heal and find you have within yourself a great capacity to care
(and less and less of an ability to “move on”)
And THAT is a VERY good gift that pain will give you.
Families have traditions.
Big ones and little ones. Sometimes you even make new ones. Since living in Texas we have stumbled upon a new tradition in our family. It happens every night at dinner, the kids ask Sean “Daddy, how many babies were saved today?” and he always has an answer.
Today OFL reached 800 babies saved!!!!!!!!! Over 100 of those babies were just this past month in April 🙂 If they keep it up at this rate with out any growth they will save 800 more this year….but if they grow every month 🙂 Man, we love math like that!!!
Now we know that the ministry at Online For Life is much more than that and it runs deeper in the lives of individuals they reach out to, but for our littlest kiddos, they don’t get counseling women in crisis, marketing, development/training of pregnancy centers, or national strategies to blanket cities in godly pregnancy centers and wipe out abortion city by city….
….they get babies. Cute, adorable bundles of life that grow up to be brothers and sisters. So that is what they ask Daddy- how many babies Daddy how many today?