Monday, September 19, 2011

Marvy Mom Monday: Jennifer Peterson Edition

"Without faith, we couldn't do this life, it would simply be too hard." Jennifer Peterson

Jennifer Peterson (RUN do not walk to her blog!) used to be a Yuppie. When she and her husband, Bob, were married in 1987 she was career-driven... fancy-car-driving.... upwardly mobile... Honestly, the image of all those shoulder pads in Working Girl comes to mind. So when I asked her if her newlywed self would have foreseen where her life has taken her she declared, “Good golly Miss Molly, NO. That's capital NO.... I didn't understand what the gift of giving and sacrifice would really net me."

So what's so giving and sacrificial about this week's Marvy Mom? Well, take a look at the family tree at which she and Bob are the trunk and you'll begin to understand the answer:
  • Lindsey - 21 Senior in college 
  • Jerrod - 17 Senior in high school
  • Erik - 14 (all the rest home schooled presently)
  • Erika - 12 (fostered at 2 1/2, adopted at 4 1/2)
  • Kloey - 11 (fostered at 5, adopted at 8)
  • Cora - 10 (fostered at 4, adopted at 7)  *(Kloey and Cora are full bio sisters)
  • Joshua - 8 (adopted 8/25/2011 at 8 from China)*
  • Trey - 4 (fostered at 8 months, adopted at 3 1/2)
  • Micah - 3 (fostered at 5 weeks, adopted at 1) *(Trey and Micah are half brothers, second set of siblings we adopted)
*All but Joshua adopted domestically. 

There they are! All 9 (+ 1!)

Yeah. For real. This former computer-science expert actually stumbled into Marvy Motherhood to the Extreme. (Well, of course she's still a computer science expert, she just doesn't get dressed up and drive to an office and get, like PAID for that knowledge!) But this Mama must have adored kids when she was young. Or known a family with adopted children when she was growing up, right? Or at least had a close relationship with this special sort of family that she emulated, obviously.... Right? 

Well, no. Not even a little bit. She tells it best:

Seriously, I did not even babysit, ever. Never changed a diaper until we had our own. Didn't like kids all that much. Especially little ones. When we were told we had the "million dollar family" after we had a boy and a girl, something never sat right with me about that. We are firmly convinced that God put many people and circumstances in our lives around that time that pointed us in the direction of the path we are on. When it became obvious that we shouldn't have any more bio kids because of potential problems - both my boys came hard - life snowballed and we are still catching our breath but wouldn't change a thing.  That said, we did dabble here and there before we jumped in. We had a Fresh Air girl come for 2 summers from NY city. (You CAN change a person's life in 2 weeks, what an eye opener.) We got into fostering with no true intention of adopting. We assumed it would happen because statistically it does, but we had no agenda.

Honestly, when you ask yourself the question, "If I don't do it, then who will?" buckle your seat belt, you are going for a ride! I often tell people that you better be careful what you pray for because God does answer prayers. Big time.

My, you have your hands full.  
Are you done?
Wow, I could never do that. 
You must love spending time with your grandchild!

The Peterson's most recent adoption was quite a departure from the others. After mountains of paperwork, Mom and Dad made the trek to China to adopt Joshua. Previously they had chosen to adopt "younger", meaning the "newest" family member was also the youngest. Besides speaking no English and living for the first eight years of his life in an orphanage, Joshua also has a long list of medical needs that require a great deal of attention. Most notably, a heart defect makes it very difficult for him to "play hard" or walk any sort of distance.
The newest Peterson!
Joshua was the only adoption that we "went after" in the words of the social worker. In fact, I always mocked those people who dreamily said when they saw the picture of a certain child, they just "knew" he/she was theirs. I thought that a bit sappy happened to me. Having R (a foster child) for a year did pique my interest in the Asian culture as she is biracial Indonesian. I NEVER wanted to adopt a little girl from China when that craze went through years ago. It did not appeal to me in the least. Other than that, there is no particular reason we adopted Joshua other than the strong feeling of knowing that this adoption path was the one of least resistance.

There is no better place to be than in God's will unless it is in His presence.

How do I help people understand that my life is hard, very hard, but to turn my back on what God has laid out for me would be harder. We have more bad days than good. No glamor life here but the eternal rewards and the daily joy is worth it all. Hands down.

Something that surprised me (but somehow simultaneously seems so natural) was that Jen is still in awe of large families and how they manage.

Whenever I see a large family, I ooh and aah. I marvel and daydream and wonder how they do it. Still. Apparently, I haven't woken up to the fact that I'm there.

She remembers she's there when you hits the grocery store, though!
  • One loaf of bread doesn't make enough sandwiches for lunch
  • Two dozen eggs isn't enough for breakfast if everyone is home.
  • Two of everything please. Boxes of spaghetti, pounds of meat, Italian bread loaves. ice cream
  • We don't do leftovers because we would have to fight over who gets it. If you come over, expect to take the two helpings home.
  • Fortunately half of my kids don't drink milk!
Now that we have a 19-year age span in kids, I had to give up my idea of the nuclear family that lives and plays together. That was hard for me and I mourned it for about a year. We are settling in now and buckling up for the wild ride of 4 in teenage-dom with the second set of kids. We are hoping that surely one out of nine will take care of us in our old age.....

"Merely" the youngest 7... plus Dad!
"My life is amazing. Nine people with nine different personalities going in nine exponential directions. Don't call me amazing, definitely don't call me lucky, call me blessed." Jennifer Peterson
So many irresistible photos on Jen's page... but this one was the MOST irresistible!
Do NOT miss the opportunity to follow all that is Peterson Ponderings. You will be inspired.


  1. beautiful! so lovely to see my good friend be featured. I am all about big families... mine is just a bit smaller and less colorful :) Thank you for sharing her words with your readers!