I can't call my four kids by their right names, so I knew there was no chance it was gonna happen there. More than once I would say, "hey, you in the red shirt, come here!". Others were nicknamed, Joy aka the Leech, John aka Wild Man. The kids are very well mannered, and started out calling me Mrs. Traci. That just seemed too formal to me, and we changed it to Tia (spanish for aunt, and what my nephew calls me.) John, though, developed a funny habit. He would call me Tia most of the time, but when he wanted to do something that he knew was wrong, it inevitably started out as "umm ummm heyyyyy, can I .....". It got to be a joke with the others, and soon my nickname was "umm heyyyy".
Although it was frustrating at times, and as I told one man at the Mexican restaurant, "having this many kids is like herding fish", it was pretty funny most of the time. And yes, I took all seven kids out to eat by myself. After a few outings, I got brave and we even went to the grocery store. Being out with all of them usually led to a few questions, "are they all yours" usually... I would say not exactly mine, but they are all brothers and sisters. And I love these kids. I really got to see their individual personalities shine through. Madi is definitely's mommy's helper, and she is a very intelligent imaginative young lady. We had fun hanging out after the others went to bed, trying to watch the "Love Begins" movie. We never made it start to finish on the movie. Matthew is all boy, loves playing outside, but can be very wise and spiritually minded. We enjoyed our quiet time together when the younger kids were asleep. Joy, who I nicknamed the Leech, truly is a joy to be around. She has a lot of love to give, and is very affectionate. She loves to help, and everytime I turned around, she was there to give me a hug or offer to do something for me, thus her nickname. After I explained what leeches were and why I nicknamed her that, she thought it was hilarious! Cailee is a bundle of energy! She will snuggle for a while, then she's off to see what she can get into. Infamous line to Cailee - "stop pouring pepper on your brother's head!" John...what can I say about John?? That kid is a trip. Absurdly long eyelashes over big brown eyes, they will melt your heart. And that's when you're in trouble! If you can't see or hear him, you have to assume he's doing something he shouldn't. In other words, a typical four year old boy! Infamous John line - "John, stop eating your shoes". I'm not kidding.
Malachi - he stole my heart. I miss him so much! One of the happiest kids I have ever seen. And he loves to make people laugh. He'll do something funny, then just fall on the floor, so proud of himself for making you laugh. My favorite Malachi pic:
And last but definitely not least: Clare Bear! Clare is very much a princess! She is an absolute doll. The last week of my stay she wasn't feeling her best, and let me know real quick if I wasn't giving her enough dedicated attention. She didn't have to worry about that with Dave around. I love this picture of her. Dave had just came in from work, and this was the biggest smile I had seen on her face all day!!
I couldn't have done this without help. Dave, my three daughters, my mom, some friends of mine and Erika's, it took all of us to make this happen. And we are all better off for having done it!! If you know of someone adopting, ask them exactly what you can do to help. It's not always about giving money to help them financially, or praying for them, but there are many burdens you can carry for them to lighten their load.