This picture was taken the day before Jon left for Afghanistan, at a park not too far from Fort Campbell. We'd gone up there early that Sunday to meet him and Chelsey at church, go out for lunch, and then spend the day together. It's one of those memories all of us will hold onto till we get to see him again in November.
Funny thing about this picture...I'm sure to the other folks around us that day, our entourage looked huge! Consider that we also had two others with us--Pete's father and his wife--so there were a total of twelve of us both at Golden Corral for lunch and then wandering around the park that afternoon. To us, though, it doesn't feel so "huge"; ten just feels like family. When I look back at pictures of our family when it was just four of us, I'm reminded just how positively tiny it looked...and incomplete.
Do we feel like our family is "complete" now, with seven children and the prospect of having more naturally not a possibility anymore? No, we don't. To be perfectly honest, both Pete and myself ache for an even larger family; we just knew that adding to our family naturally was not just dangerous for my health, it was a risk neither one of us wanted to take. Call that a lack of faith if you want, but it's a decision that was definitely made with much prayer and self-seeking. We know our motivations were right this time, and while we're "okay" with it, the prospect of not bearing anymore natural children does bother both of us. You know what? If God were to want to grow our family further via adoption, we'd both be thrilled! I'm sure we'd have to pick all of the grandparents up off of the floor...but children ARE a blessing, no matter how shocking their addition is to any family!
Our family is really nowhere near complete, I hope! By the end of next month, we will have two children who have graduated from high school and we know it is the natural course of things for them to strike out on their own and begin families of their own. It's not a sad thing for our "nest" to begin emptying--it's what is supposed to happen! However...as our nest empties, the nests of each of our children will, hopefully, begin filling up. I hope one day to need to "move" our dining room into the bonus room that is now the girls' bedroom! I hope one day we'll NEED a Duggar-sized table to seat all of our family members. It is my dream to have holidays that are just busting at the seams with sons-in-law, a daughter-in-law, and a ton of grandchildren! Oh...and it has been our hope and prayer for years to be able to have a church family that functions almost as a biological family--and we have that here finally!
So yes, we're actually making plans to extend our family to FAR more than "just the ten of us"! I hope that's God's plan for our family too!