Fake Family
by Jen Hatmaker on September 26th, 2011

The other day, I turned the corner and saw Remy straddling the banister, preparing for a leisurely slide down the stairs. (Related: This is why our banister has been pulled out of the sheetrock twice. We can't have anything nice. Our kids can find a way to destroy solid cement floors.)

Me: Remy, we don't do that. It's not safe.
Caleb: Yes we do.

Ok listen, some things have been happening around here that I feel the need to unload. Do we slide down banisters? Perhaps. And maybe my sons and their friends sometimes line the stairs with sleeping bags and surf down on boogie boards where they crash land on the pile of pillows arranged at the bottom. It's certainly not with my approval.
Um, that is not my voice. I would never condone this behavior.

I realize this video causes you alarm if your babies are all six and under or if you only have one precious cherub, but trust me, a few years and few kids later? You won't be nearly the Safety Susan you are now. You'll be all, "Oh well, it's just 22 miles away. Yall double buckle..." when you're out of seats in your car because all your kids' friends have piled in and you have to get to Schlitterbahn or die trying.

You will sell the "elbow and knee pads" in your garage sale to a mom with a preschooler.

Despite your best common sense, you will send your kid to school with a Lunchable.

You will leave the trampoline up long after the net has been torn down by your savage kids.

You will lighten up. And miraculously, your kids will still live despite the absence of your hypervigilance. (My mom didn't know where I was for approximately one-fourth of my elementary years. She saw me at dinner after I wandered home from my adventures. "Where did all those scrapes come from, Jen?" "I fell off some scaffolding at that abandoned construction site where me and Amy were hunting for scorpions." "Well, you seem fine. Set the table.")

Clearly, I'm not the hovering Mama I once was. As this picture demonstrates:
We add water to our Death Trap Trampoline to expedite the possibility of a broken femur.

But something has happened to me since the arrival of our newest Hatmakers from Ethiopia. I've taken a couple of steps backward...past caution, right through watchful, beyond fastidious, and all the way to fantasy, apparently. Conversation between me and Brandon:

J: I feel so frustrated.
B: Why?
J: We have a fresh slate with Ben and Remy. We haven't ruined them yet. This is the time to introduce our systems and chore charts and stuff. We need a marble jar for good behavior. I read about that somewhere. I really want to show them how we run a smooth, efficient home with teamwork and diligence.
B: (after five seconds of silence) What family are you talking about?
J: The Fake Family I invented in my head.
B: Uh-huh. And how's that working out for you?
J: It's awesome. I love Fake Family. Their kids wash their hands after using the bathroom every single time.
B: Because they have such organized, responsible parents?
J: Yes. And Gavin is the starting quarterback on the high school varsity team. As an eighth grader. He's that good. Mack Brown is interested; he started following me on Twitter. And in Fake Family, I'm a size four because I make better choices.
B: Wow. Fake Jen sounds awesome.
J: Really? Did I mention Fake Brandon always closes the cabinet doors after he opens them and he never complains when I ask him to "fix my iTunes" again? He is spectacular.

I had these ideas about bringing the kids home to a perfectly run household with impressive structures and systems; our food was all organic obviously, and our kids miraculously stopped fighting. In fact, after Ben and Remy arrived, there would never be another argument in our home. We would be the ideal prototype for responsible child-rearing. Our kids would track with math and science scores reported from Japan. They would certainly not become addicted to Movies on Demand or Angry Birds, because they could only earn a maximum of fifteen minutes of screen time a week after completing their required chores and "bonus exercise points" through the online job chart we complete by 6:30pm each night, after enjoying the traditional Ethiopian meal I made from scratch but before their systematic language instruction (their bedtime ritual), which would really just reinforce the conversational practice they'd enjoy with our Amharic tutor three days a week, refreshing their native tongue and instructing the rest of us as well. We'd all be pretty fluent by Halloween. (It's just because we love them so much. Don't make a big deal out of it.)

Fake Family is impressive. Let me tell you. They would sail through their post-adoption social worker visits. People would talk. You couldn't ignore their awesomeness for long. They would be invited on panels. Dr. Karyn Purvis would comment on their blogs.

But my actual family is just messing all this up, including the person typing this blog. As it turned out, Ben and Remy didn't join a perfect family; they joined a real family. Oh sure, we chased the dream of raising model children when our bio kids were tiny, but it didn't take long to release that delusion. Mainly because we weren't raising characters in books, but human children. We also accidentally discovered that we were human parents and capable of *occasional* missteps.

Our life is no prototype. If you wanted to find holes in our parenting resume, it would take you three seconds. Any critic or unsympathizer could make a quick list of our faults, hypocrisies, blind spots, and double standards (and then send them to me in a direct message...awesome). It would be so easy. We live a messy life in a messy world. There are a zillion ways we could be better. I have no idea if my kids will make the Top 10% of their graduating classes or 'Just Say No'. Will they choose organic? I feel the chances are slim; it seems certain their college pantries will be rife with Pop Tarts. If they fail half as epically as Brandon and I did as adolescents, we are in for some serious retribution.

I'm not sure when I got the idea that adoption required perfection or that there was some exacting formula that prevents grief and struggle. Maybe it was through the year and a half of daily discussions with my adoption community which: 1.) prepared me more than any other resource, 2.) encouraged, prayed, cheered, and commiserated with aplomb, and 3.) made me a teeny bit paranoid. You know when you over-talk about something, and it takes on this huge life of its own and increases your idling levels and fills your head with more ideas than you can execute, especially considering most of the advice is "before the airport" and super skewed toward other people's preferences, and it's kind of like reading those 80-pound bridal magazines that tell you no wedding is complete without pashmina shawls for the bridesmaids and a guided tour of a local museum for guests arriving early? No? Me neither.

Of course, manufactured entirely in my own brain was the notion that their lives have been so unfair and their circumstances so heart-breaking, that surely I owed it to Ben and Remy to bring them into a nearly perfect environment. I would do this so well.

As it turns out, I'm still susceptible to fatigue and discouragement. My other kids didn't kick that selfish gene. I still don't have a working laundry schedule that I stick to for more than two weeks. I fed my daughter Chick-Fil-A on her fourth day in America. My lentils don't taste right. Ben knows how to work the Apple TV by himself. All seven of us have cried in the last two months. The kids' closets are galloping toward entropy.

Ladies and gentlemen, we've had lice.

So for those of you trying to dodge the idea of adoption because your marriage is not perfect and you don't have your crap entirely together, please let me dispel the notion of "necessary impeccability." I'm learning this: Orphaned kids don't need a perfect family...they just need a loving one. You needn't be fit for display and ready for the adoption speakers' circuit.

Can you enter into the grief of a child and stay there until God heals? Do you have room on your lap for another daughter who would delight in the same "Carl Books" you read the rest of your kids? Could you direct your diligence toward becoming a healing parent, even if that just means listening and affirming and acknowledging and holding a child through the storm? Can you be miraculously, fantastically present for a child that is positive you too will disappear one day? Do you have the gumption to be oh-so-very consistent with boundaries and discipline, understanding that requiring their respect supplies them with the very security they crave in a parent who is actually in charge, freeing them up to be a kid instead of a survivor?

Then Kelly Ripa or not ("Be even more amazing!"), you can throw your hat in this ring.

I suspect one day our kids will not recall the laundry piled on our couches or every little time we blew it, but I hope they carry into adulthood the security that they were wanted, they were adored, they were cherished, and they were loved. So very loved. Parents, we might not get it all right even seven out of ten times, but failure is not a deal breaker inside the safety of a family. I pray one day we launch our kids into this world whole and healed, redeemed by the touch of their Savior and transformed simply because we loved and we stayed...imperfectly and beautifully.

Admittedly, I miss Fake Family. I loved them so much. On paper. I told Brandon:

J: I'm still holding out hope for Fake Family. I think I might be able to pull it off.
B: You put body lotion in our daughter's hair.
J: Alright. Never mind. Pass the Pringles.

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Rhonda Baker - September 27th, 2011 at 8:13 AM
I just love you so much! Thanks for sharing your heart!!!
andrew - September 27th, 2011 at 8:24 AM
Huzzah and well done again.
Lisa Elliott - September 27th, 2011 at 8:24 AM
OK Jen I so needed to laugh today thank you for this that was so cool and funny to watch laughed hard what cute kids Bless your family boys will be boys
Shelley - September 27th, 2011 at 8:28 AM
Brilliant! You should write a book or something! ;-) Can't wait for 7!
Donna - September 27th, 2011 at 8:29 AM
I think your fake family are neighbors! We bbq out once a week and have movie night twice a month! Our children are bffs and sit quietly in church next to each other while singing "Amazing Grace" in perfect pitch! We take turns while one is taking the children to school...the other is baking cookies for a after school snack...gluten free of coarse! I love our fake families! But I CHERISH your realness! Thank you!
Heather - September 28th, 2011 at 9:23 PM
Donna--we live on the other side of her--you know, the perfect house with perfect lawn, where children play quietly and run around with streamers, Dad is always washing the car and waxing it every weekend, and the dog is always perfectly manicured. Come on over sometime for a cup of expensive tea where the children can play boardgames on the dining room table while we have ourselves a little chat. :)

Amy Daniels - September 27th, 2011 at 8:30 AM
Oh Jen - gushing tears are making me all puffy faced. Thanks. My FB status that I posted last night/this morning (?) read: "My faith is messy, dirty, it sometimes uses bad words and hurts feelings. I'm weary of pretending
Nicole - February 12th, 2012 at 6:44 PM
Mine too!!! I'm glad to not be alone and grateful for grace!
della - September 27th, 2011 at 8:47 AM
As a family who is considering foster care (hey, it's a start), this is so encouraging. Thank you for assuring me we don't have to be perfect. Because I'm trying.
Michelle - September 28th, 2011 at 5:02 PM
Hi Della
I just wanted to encourage in saying that foster care is not more or less than adoption. It is an amazing way to care for children in uncertain situations. They need love just as much as any other child... It is so very needed and I it takes a lot of guts and courage to step into that process and I think it's amazing that you are even just considering it!
I wish you all the wisdom of the world and most of all the peace that goes beyond all understanding.
- Michelle

"To be certain of God means that we are uncertain in all our ways, not knowing what tomorrow may bring. This is generally expressed with a sigh of sadness, but it should be an expression of breathless expectation." Oswald Chambers
Sharon - September 27th, 2011 at 8:52 AM
I needed to read this today. Perfection....it should be considered a bad word. It doesn't exist here on earth, not in any family. I've read so many blogs that surely must be about the Fake Families. I just don't know how people can keep up the pace of perfection. It makes me too tired to even think straight. Thank you, Jen, for letting us all stand together in our imperfection!
Caryn - September 27th, 2011 at 8:53 AM
Oh Jen! I love you! The realness you bring to the table is so refreshing. I, too, dream of the Fake Family and I know it will never happen. I have a 6 year old that will wag his 'manhood' at the dinner table when his older brother has a guest. I have a 10 year old that is fighting the blues of being a middle schooler and his 'flare ups' show it. Our only girl, precious and 5 years old, is a diva even though I have preached to her about 'princess' behaviour. You know...princesses are kind and sweet and gentle ALWAYS! Gah... I can't seem to get it right. I have reserved myself to the dream of a Fake Family and I will strive every day to make sure my kids know they are loved unconditionally and forever. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR SHARING!!! You are so loved! God is so proud of you for showing his love to other Moms who strive for perfection and fall face down....at least 6 times a week! ;-)
Brandon Battle - September 27th, 2011 at 8:56 AM
I love this! Read it to my wife and we laughed until we just about cried! Maybe because it is so much like us! :)
Dianna - September 27th, 2011 at 9:02 AM
Okay, words fail me with this blogpost. I love you Jen! You make me feel like we aren't the only normal people we know. Now I know someone els out there who fits my definition of normal!
Amanda - September 27th, 2011 at 9:06 AM
Brilliant. Funny and heart-wrenching and real. Thank you for sharing.
Jaime - September 27th, 2011 at 9:14 AM
I absolutely love your sense of humor! This has completely made my day :-)
Admitting is the first step - September 27th, 2011 at 9:18 AM
"Ladies and Gentlemen, we've had lice" has to be my favorite line from you on this one.
When you are normal, semi popular, and not an apparent dirty person, it's very hard to accept. As a 25 year survivor, I can finally admit it verbally (last week), and now written.
For some reason, my sister thought it was ok to tell people that we had it - That it wasn't embarrassing to miss school the day after the lady checked heads with the toothpicks, to sit your head in your mom's lap for 8 hours while she picked every single egg or "nit" I think they called them, out of every single strand of hair with her fingernails. I would have rather lived with them, itching up my coif, than for anyone to ever know I was a victim.
I'll never forget the freedom dance in the front yard. Our cousin (the giver) was devastated. They had become what she called her "best friends".

Bella Michelle - September 27th, 2011 at 9:23 AM
Wow....I think I might still (at my advanced Parenting Stage) be in love with Fake Family! Thanks for sharing!
erin - September 27th, 2011 at 9:25 AM
Hee, hee! We all want fake family, or at least I do, but none of us have it. But I love people (like you) who TALK about it, because when people don't talk about it, I can't trust them. I certainly can't trust them with my weakness. Weakness makes me feel comfortable. Thank you!
Briana - September 27th, 2011 at 9:31 AM
I wish that everyone who had thought about adoption, but was waiting for the perfect time, could read this! There is never a perfect time...for anything! To get pregnant, to buy a house, to buy a car, to take a dream vacation, to do anything big and great with your life - you just make it work with the life you have. If we all waited until our lives were set - financially, emotionally, until we had the perfect marriage, we would never do anything great with our lives. With God's grace, especially with caring for His precious children, it will work!
Dawn Kicklighter - September 27th, 2011 at 9:32 AM
Wow, Jen. This was an incredible post. I love it. I laughed, then cried, then laughed again. I really needed that this morning after being up with my son who woke up early this morning throwing up. Of course, I could just be emotional becuase I'm tired. Nope, I think it's your great display of your REAL family. Thanks again.
Kristen - September 27th, 2011 at 9:51 AM
How did you know I just sent my kids to school with a Lunchable in their lunch boxes today? And I seriously thought about who was going to be on lunch duty to see it. Fake family indeed.
One day soon I'm going to attempt to secure Mother of the Year (at least in my kids eyes) by putting together the stair slide
Bonar Crump - September 27th, 2011 at 9:56 AM

Well worth the three week wait. And I learned a new word, "aplomb". I don't like this word, though. It seems like a word Fake Family would use and I hate Fake Family.
Esty - September 27th, 2011 at 9:58 AM
Jen, seriously. Get out of my head.
Amy - September 27th, 2011 at 10:07 AM
In our weakness He is made perfect!!
Lisa - September 27th, 2011 at 10:30 AM
Perfection would be boring, where would the learning come from? Struggle = Strength. Love your honesty.
Rebekah - September 27th, 2011 at 10:30 AM
Thank you for saying this out loud!!! They are gifts to us from our Heavenly Father. Lots of love, grace and an infinite amount of prayer :)
Olivia - September 27th, 2011 at 10:32 AM
Um....perfect for me to hear this today!! I was laughing out loud...not at you or your family, but at recognizing myself in those plans for the "perfect family." Lord help me. Thank you!
Laura - September 27th, 2011 at 10:36 AM
I adore you and your vulnerability! I like down to earth, real people and you are most definitely one of them. Screw fake families. :)
Charity - September 27th, 2011 at 10:37 AM
Your fake family sound a lot like mine. Funny that. I thought moving overseas would fix all my problems, turns out, just like we were told - it makes them worse! Fun times. :) Love you so much and I just know we are BFF's.
Judy - September 27th, 2011 at 10:53 AM
Oh my goodness!! I laughed so hard!! Loved the line under the trampoline picture!!!
Our trampoline looks just like this, and our boys all 4... use the couch cushions (when I'm not home...Yes I leave them alone occasionally!) to stair surf. we have a small area at the bottom that they crash into the front door.........sometimes they remember to put a cushion there....LOVED this post!!! Safety Susan...Love it! The first child you steralize the pacifer if it hits the floor, the second child, you suck it off yourself..you know take the hit for them....the third child, you just brush of the dirt and hair on your leg, and by the fourth one you just stick it back in and never miss a beat in your conversation........as the new mother of one looks on horrified...vowing to never turn into one of those mothers. My insurance agent was more concerned about our trampoline's lack of net, than our SW was??? My youngest son just took a tarantula to school for show and tell that my second son found the cat playing with. He was KING of show and tell..with the bonus of freaking out the girls!
Cheryl Wood - September 27th, 2011 at 11:19 AM
Jen, can you please tell me what you say to people when they call you A Saint? I am really sick of it. I invited the last person over to see me yell at my kids. She laughed nervously. You mean we can't have "Fake Family" for real? I am sad now.
Amy - September 27th, 2011 at 11:22 AM
Can you enter into the grief of a child and stay there until God heals?

Could you direct your diligence toward becoming a healing parent, even if that just means listening and affirming and acknowledging and holding a child through the storm?

Can you be miraculously, fantastically present for a child that is positive you too will disappear one day?

LOVED THIS. So many people aren't willing to help heal a child with a 'less than desirable' past... they sit around and discuss whose fault it is. I don't know whose fault it is, but I know it's not the child's fault and I know God calls us to reach out to provide and protect the fatherless.
Healing is a process more than slapping cutesy band aids on deep wounds. God bless your family and the hard work that goes into family.
Christy - September 27th, 2011 at 11:44 AM
Have you read my home study? To me that sounds like a fake family. Not that any bit of it is untrue, it's just a bit glossy. Not that I want real family being advertised to USCIS so I'll take it! :) It does sound nice in my head how well something will work sometimes, and occasionally it does - for a while, but then reality sets in and you start back over again trying to figure out this parenting thing and life in general. BTW - you get some of the best stories here - Judy just made me laugh a lot! :) Hugs.
Mrs. Troop - September 27th, 2011 at 12:02 PM
Really enjoyed this. Turns out, I have a "fake family" in my mind, too. I had better stop day dreaming and start loving the real family that I have. :-)
Traci Danker - September 27th, 2011 at 12:15 PM
Fake family should read my note titled "Labels" in facebook!! lol
Chasity - September 27th, 2011 at 1:16 PM
The reality of others lives looking SO much like ours is beyond refreshing! Thanks for sharing!
Marla Taviano - September 27th, 2011 at 3:13 PM
I find your imperfection charming, but if you could step up the blogging pace, that would be great. Or just write 6,000 word posts once a month. Whatever.

I came home from the store today with Pumpkin Pie pop-tarts. They're extra-healthy and count as baking a pie.

I heart you. All of you. If your book comes out while I'm in Cambodia (Dec 11- Jan. 13), could you mail it to me there please? Thanks.
haley - September 27th, 2011 at 3:23 PM
Love you, love this, and if you'll excuse me I need to go kill off my Fake Family because they are ruining my life. Thanks!
Melissa - September 27th, 2011 at 3:31 PM
LOVE IT! I have a Fake Family in my head that I need to let go of!
Karil - September 27th, 2011 at 3:32 PM
That was the most real blog I have ever read...just awesome. I needed that.
Christa - September 27th, 2011 at 3:34 PM
Pass the Pringles.
shirley schmitt - September 27th, 2011 at 3:44 PM
loved this...i am a foster child...and had the best foster family...God wants us to love all children...it is not their fault...it is just too bad that more families can't understand this...thank you for your post and keep the Faith and His words of love growing
Susie - September 27th, 2011 at 4:22 PM
I'm so laughing right now! - my brother and I are both adopted - there were no bio-kids to contend with so our parents lavished their craziness on us alone. my favorite childhood memory...my bro and I were making frozen burritos (no microwave back then) in the wall oven on the 400 year old baking sheet...He said they were done. I, being the fat kid, knew for a fact they were not. Seemed super important at the time. We punched and kicked and chased each other all over the house. the fight culminated in one final crushing blow- I slammed my fist down on his head nearly knocking him out and sending me screaming out of the house to find my father! I cried like the 9 year old I was and said my brother had kicked me. My dad said "your fingers are dislocated. Quit crying." he took my fingers and pulled "POP!" sounded like a shot gun going off on the porch!! My mom very calmly said "well, Jeff, they're broke now - you can take her to the ER."
It doesn't matter where your kids come from - God puts us all where we're supposed to be. I would hate to think about how I would have turned out if my mom had been a "Safety Susan" I once ate an entire family size bottle of Flintstones Chewables when I was four because she was taking a nap and I wanted a snack. They were "out of my reach" but I figured out how to climb up on the sink and get whatever I wanted.
although, I have to say Jen, water on the trampoline made my tummy lurch - I just picture Alice from the Brady Bunch trowing her back out...death traps I tells ya!
Anna - December 12th, 2011 at 9:53 PM
I just laughed til I cried about the frozen burrito story.
Nicki - September 27th, 2011 at 5:18 PM
Stair surfing - nice! My boys driveway surf down our steep hill standing up on body boards. I'm a great mum though because I make sure there's plenty of cement and gravel down to break their fall at the end.
Becky - September 27th, 2011 at 5:24 PM
Love it! You can be real, while still choosing to see the good and beautiful in your family!
Nicole Quiring - September 27th, 2011 at 5:26 PM
OK i LOVED this post. I don't have adopted kids and we aren't on the journey of adopting but I am one that as I've thought about it some of those "perfect family" thoughts have crept into my head. Actually every time I have a messed up mom week (which as we know is everyweek if I'm real) I think we'd be crazy to adopt. Anyways, I just loved how you speak to this thought. Whether adopting or not though it's also a great post to remind us all that we are just messy people in an imperfect/messy world. I had to laugh about the trampoline b/c I wouldn't buy one without the net and now we have one with no net and a whole in it that needs to be taken down but we just keep jumping over the hole and saying, "Be careful" to our four kids. Ha.

Shannon - September 27th, 2011 at 6:39 PM
"Dr. Karyn Purvis would comment on their blogs."
This is where I fell off my chair laughing. I so needed this today. (And we fed our daughter Chick-Fil-A multiple times in her first weeks home. It was one of the only things she would eat.)

Bless you for your continued honesty-and your imperfections! God is showing me daily that if our family had it together, He would have no room to shine.
Diane Kriwiel - September 27th, 2011 at 7:17 PM
We fed our ET dd and ds Wendy's, 30 minutes after getting off the plane, on Christmas Eve no less. You make me laugh. This mother of 12 needs that!!
Mom - September 27th, 2011 at 7:32 PM
I had a fantasy family where my wonderful children would remember their time at home and would pool their thoughts to write an essay to the local paper to nominate their mother as 'Mom of the Year'. They would remember how she was encouraging, self-sacrificing, loving, forgiving, etal. I dream of a frontpage article on Mother's Day, with a picture of me surounded by my children, and everyone adoring my perfect family. I continue to wait. Write the dang essay, Jen.
Jen Hatmaker - September 27th, 2011 at 7:42 PM
Nice job, Mom. I wondered how long you'd let me talk about your parenting before you defended yourself.
Lindsay - September 28th, 2011 at 11:52 PM
way to add in there how sympathy is your best assest. oh wait...you didn't. huh. go figure.
Megan Card - September 27th, 2011 at 7:53 PM
Katie Dunlap - September 27th, 2011 at 8:10 PM
Your mom is awesome :).......
Amanda Barker - September 27th, 2011 at 8:17 PM
I needed that, Jen. Fake family I am not. I am Single Mom trying to volunteer in everything at 3 kids schools, working full time as ER Nurse and trying to date and keep amazing boyfriend without showing him too much of my non Fake family side and scaring him off. I get sooo tired of friends esp ones that get to stay home and only have one child to tend with, on how they would Correct my children's behaviors and not put up with certain things. Oh, and Grandparents
that can't seem to understand why my house isn't spotless? Really. Really? Fake Family. Love it. and needed to read this. Thanks and Hugs.
Kris M - September 27th, 2011 at 8:35 PM
Oh Jen Hatmaker. I'm SO glad I was introduced to your books and eventually at a women's conference. Can't imagine my day without your view on life. Love your realness. And as for your mom, you really should write her that essay. Seriously.
Michelle - September 27th, 2011 at 9:14 PM
Good stuff, Jen. Lots to relate to. Kristian and I to you and Brandon: This is the narrow road. Stay the course. Love, M
Monica - September 27th, 2011 at 9:18 PM
Could fake Brandon teach real Fred to close the cabinet doors? Honestly, fake family has nothing on those in the ring, although they do provide a nice mental escape to an orderly place that will exist no where but in our heads. And, it is better to dream of your family in the perfect situation rather than dreaming yourself out of the situation all together. God heals because of us and in spite of us and all we have to do is be willing...that the beauty of it all. Awesome update and awesome family! Thanks for keeping it real, Jen!
Kristina - September 27th, 2011 at 9:26 PM
I love this, and you made me cry. Jen I hate to cry. What a wonderful story that truly touched my heart...
Crystal Z - September 27th, 2011 at 10:31 PM
First, my sisters and I slid down the stairs that way when we were kids - it still looks fun!

Second, thank you, thank you, thank you. Thank you for reminding me, as a single mom, that my family does not have to be a perfect one, just a loving one. I've got that part down. The laundry, semblance of clean or organization? Not so much.

Oh, and Fake Family sounds exhausting!
Trina Barlow - September 27th, 2011 at 11:07 PM
Remember the trampoline you used to have? The one we allowed the kids to jump on with a giant hole in it? And see, they're all fine.
Krys Springer - September 28th, 2011 at 12:21 AM
I love, love reading your posts. Keep them coming!
kim l - September 28th, 2011 at 7:33 AM
So we are related?!
Jennifer - September 28th, 2011 at 7:36 AM
We did Chick-Fil-A on day 2. That should take away any lingering guilt you might have. :)
And the lice thing...yeah...we've been there, done that.
We also slide down stairs in a laundry basket. Have you tried that one? It increases your chances of flipping 10fold. I only recommend this one if you've met your insurance deductable. And on Sunday, the boys tied a rope to a spindle in the staircase and was about to jump off the second landing like Indiana Jones when we walked in.
I relate to every word. Thanks for sharing!
Carole - September 28th, 2011 at 8:42 AM
Brilliant, poignant, delightful, funny, and honest. I'm glad I wasn't drinking when I read the sentence about lice . . . I would have spewed. Memories!! Thank you for your honesty.
Erinn Vahlkamp - September 28th, 2011 at 8:58 AM
My Sisters and I use to slide down the stairs with sleeping bags when we were young. We also had a railing that over looked the family room and we would jump over onto the couch. Now, That I'm in my 30's, I don't think that was the best idea. LOL :) hehe...I love being in a real family and raising a real family. :) LOVE your post!
Sheri LEonardis - September 28th, 2011 at 9:20 AM
You say exactly what every mom wants to say. Thank you!
Sheila Wienke - September 28th, 2011 at 9:51 AM
Jen... I can only echo the words of so many others ... "Get out of my head and how did you get into my house?" ... "Praises for your willingness to be transparent and vulnerable! Amen!" ... You have made me laugh, cry, and squeal with excitement as my own family is "waiting" for the child(ren) God has planned for us in Ethiopia. So very thankful to have others to share the journey with!

Grace to you sweet sister in Christ, adoption, parenting, wifeing (I am sure that's not a word.), and just plan ol' being a woman!
meghan - September 28th, 2011 at 10:07 AM
Please stop looking in my window 'cause it is kinda freaking me out ;) My kids like to add a little dishsoap to the water on the trampoline so that they can slide even better. About the lice, how did you finally get rid them? Just curious, you know, so I can tell a "friend". Thank you for taking the time to write this. You have blessed me!
Leigh - September 28th, 2011 at 10:29 AM
Oh Jen. This was perfect. As a first time mom, adopting an almost 5 year old, I just KNEW we would pull it all together after meeting him in ET. He was so loving and precious, seriously, we had this Then we came home. HA! He is still loving and precious and he is picky, messy and ALL BOY. He is wounded deeply and we get glimpses of that every day. What I realized is that most days all he wants is me to cuddle with him, play trains with him, and tell him how much we love him. Oh and he knows how to work our Roku for and access Netflix which is helpful when mommy is sleeping on the couch because we didn't get much rest the night before....whoops. God's grace is enough for him and me!
Never enough Jennifers - September 28th, 2011 at 11:04 AM
The Sprinkle-ine is a bad idea? Ut-oh.

Will you be our friends?! Not Fake Family, the real one. The fake one sounds dull.
Joanna - September 28th, 2011 at 11:26 AM
This was from God, for me today! My daughter would wake up every 20 minutes last night, and poke me in the neck to make sure I was in the bed with her still. After the dozenth time of telling her "IT'S NIGHT-NIGHT TIME! TOMORROW'S GONNA STINK FOR YOU AND ME IF YOU DON'T GO THE HECK TO SLEEP RIGHT NOW! DO YOU UNDERSTAND?" Innocent 2-yr old head nod with smile. I was so emotionally charged and angry that she wouldn't cooperate, and had another "Why did we do this?" moment that makes me so guilty. My fake family was gonna ROCK! Good to know I'm not the only one coming down from insane expectations. The Beatles were right: "All you need is love." And coffee....lots and lots of strong coffee.

I'm reposting your blog to mine, btw. People need to know this stuff. Thanks, sis.
Kris - September 28th, 2011 at 4:27 PM
Just wonderful! Thank you for being the real you, with us!
Nikki Gaona - September 28th, 2011 at 6:52 PM
Amy Hill - September 29th, 2011 at 10:52 AM
So...................... when your three year old gets a concussion because your husband is letting her run down a ramp in a hotel lobby while you are on your 2 day vacation and then you spend half a day and $3500 in the ER (with her 10 year old sister selfishly complaining loudly that the vacation is ruined) just to have her jumping around at the Rainforest Cafe by lunchtime that same day.....................I should just remember that we are not a fake family? Like.
judy - September 29th, 2011 at 10:56 AM
My dear departed grandmother once said "I don't know how there are any males over the age of 25.....they just LOOK for ways to kill themselves"
Maureen - September 29th, 2011 at 11:55 AM
thank U!!
Sandy W - September 29th, 2011 at 9:02 PM
Ahhh - so refreshing. Real life is so much more fun. Fake Family is funny - a great sitcom!
April - September 29th, 2011 at 9:06 PM
That was awesome!!
Stephanie - September 29th, 2011 at 11:56 PM
What's wrong with a lunchable? :)
Nancy - September 30th, 2011 at 7:26 AM
My kids used to slide down the basement stairs on a foam chair that folded out to make a bed. It made a huge surf board and the slippery fabric on it made it perfect for sliding. My kids are 25 and 27 now and that is still one of their favorite memories. And, yes, I was usually there watching, too! Funny, they don't recall much about my laundering or housekeeping during those years...
Molly - October 1st, 2011 at 3:21 PM
This is how I feel every New Years, and then again in September when the school year starts. and then my real self creeps in, and there goes fake Molly! Still, I'm proud of Real Molly and I like who she is, so somehow I can deal!
KJ - October 1st, 2011 at 7:42 PM
Shoot...we slid down the stair on pillows as kids...and that was well over 30 years ago! I much admit I am a bit of a Safety Susan..but I have girls..so I can get by with it! I grew up with brothers, so when I am not ALL about safety, I don't feel entirely guilty...after all, we did survive the crazy things they cooked up! Thanks! Great post!
Kari - October 2nd, 2011 at 4:09 PM
As we sit here making the huge decision to adopt another (We have 2 bio daughters and adopted our son a year ago) this really helps me to realize we're doing the right thing. We've gotten flack from people around us (Why can't you just be happy with the 3 you have??!) We've been going back and forth on if we can really handle this, if it's the right thing...but it is. I cried reading this, but it helped me soo much.
Katie Sharp - October 4th, 2011 at 9:01 AM
Beautifully written and beautiful living!
erin - October 5th, 2011 at 10:58 AM
thank you. thank you. thank you.
Jill - October 6th, 2011 at 9:59 PM
This is my family. Go adopt a kid!!
Jennifer - October 8th, 2011 at 7:41 AM
You hiding in my brain? We hope to have our little guy home - fourth child, first adoption - in January or February - and I was thinking the other day that maybe, just maybe, I might have a chance at having a kid who eats vegetables. And then I laughed at myself and realized he'll get a cup of applesauce with a tin foil lid just like the other three while Daddy and I eat broccoli and I'll reassure myself that the phrase "fruits and vegetables" makes this okay!
Amy - October 11th, 2011 at 8:04 AM
I found your blog recently and I. Love. It. We came home on August 16th with our 16 year old daughter from the Philippines. We too have 3 bio kids (14, 12
Jennifer P - October 12th, 2011 at 6:41 AM
Laughing out loud whilst in the trenches right along with you. When we were in China meeting our new son, I decided in my fantasy mind that i would NOT be yelling, hollering, speaking loudly to any of my kids every again. Guess how long that lasted.......

Well said.
Denise Holman - October 12th, 2011 at 4:25 PM
I found this blog post through my friend Kathy (Ferguson) Litton. I LOVE what you've written here and agree with it wholeheartedly with every bit of my being. (Not that that is anything important....I just wanted you to know.) We are missionaries in Bolivia and have 11 kids...2 through adoption from South Korea. Thanks for your writing and for getting the word out that adoption is a possibility for everyone. We have connections with lots of orphans and street kids here in Bolivia and I pray that God will place each in a family where they can learn of how much He loves them. Ps 68:6 says "God places the lonely in families" (NLT). I love the video of your boys. Our boys (the oldest 6 are boys) used to put all of our dirty clothes at the bottom of the stairs and it was quite a pile let me tell you. Then they would wrap one of the brothers in as many other dirty clothes as they could...yes, including underwear...and yell "AVALANCHE" and roll him down the stairs. Good times. Good memories. They remember these things much more than all the sticker charts. I believe in good ole family fun....and we have more than our fair share. May God bless you and your family. Thanks for sharing and for the laughs!
Julia Leinen - October 19th, 2011 at 6:52 PM
Love this. It rings true. Makes me feel like I'm not a total spazz. thanks.
Kacey - October 25th, 2011 at 8:17 AM
This is brilliant. Funny and brilliant. Thank you.
Dana @ Cooking At Cafe D - October 25th, 2011 at 10:25 AM
OMGosh, Jen.

You nailed it.
You've given me so much to ponder.

BTW, I was sent here by Kimba, from a Soft Place to Land.

~Dana at Cooking at Cafe D
"31 Days - 31 Minutes to a More Organized Life!"

Meghan Grace - October 25th, 2011 at 12:50 PM
What a beautiful post-one I need to bookmark and reread from time to time. It brought tears to my eyes. I try so hard to be perfect and tend to beat myself up when I fail. This post is a reminder that as long as our home is filled with love, that the rest is just not that important. Thank you for sharing and helping me! Hugs, Meghan
Talia - October 25th, 2011 at 2:47 PM
Priceless! What a hysterical take on such a great subject. We should purge perfection and its' pursuit from our lives and be so grateful for all we have!

This is my first visit to your blog. Love it!
Michelle - October 25th, 2011 at 3:30 PM
"Can you enter into the grief of a child and stay there until God heals?"

...I've never heard a stronger question.
Kara - October 25th, 2011 at 8:13 PM
Love this and needed this today so badly! Thank you. My fake family is mostly in hiding - but every now and then I bring them out to parade in front of my real family. This was one of those weeks. Also, adoption is something I have always wanted to do but always thought, "We need to be more prepared." Loved this. Praying God lays adoption on my husband's heart as well.

Well done!
Tassie - October 25th, 2011 at 11:53 PM
I LOVE IT!!!! Thank you for being so transparent. Sometimes I think that I AM that fake family... then reality hits.... but no on talks about it.... we all put on the "front" and pretend that we are that fake family.
Thank you for putting some humor with reality.... and then bringing it all into perspective with the last comment.... it is truly God's Grace that gets us through this life....
Thank you thank you thank you..... you are a blessing....
Victoria - October 26th, 2011 at 11:08 AM
What a hoot your Fake Family post is! I laughed out loud and your train of thought because I've been there. I'm a 50-something year old mother and MiMi to nice (sometimes), I mean six children and nine grandchildren (so far). I haven't seen or thought of Fake Family since Leave It To Beaver. And even back then, most of us knew they were fake. It's a fun to dream and dreams come true sometimes don't they? Sometimes. But it's a lot more interesting being real than playing perfect. That's exhausting. And what's that saying, "Perfect is the enemy of good?." Enjoy your beautiful, -so-fake family and make interesting memories -- good ones and some tough ones at times. But absolutely for real! Thanks for the laughs this morning! I needed one since my not-so-fake family is having a few issues these days too. Praying for more of God's grace for all of us!
julie - October 26th, 2011 at 6:33 PM
This is too funny. I still have moms who can not believe I don't hover the way they want me to. I don't worry. I have three boys (10, 11,12) and one girl. Thank goodness God didn't give her to me first or I would have made a wreck out of things. I really thing you get to the point you say, "They're boys. They're God's. And I'm tired."
Night Night!!!!
I love your post.

Carol - October 28th, 2011 at 2:10 PM
I LOVE this post... and your blog. I just found you (somehow stemming from the Livesay: Haiti blog). My husband and I desperately want to begin the adoption process, but we are renovating our little old house ourselves(aka constant chaos) and we also have four (three of them large and two being full blood bulldogs) in the mix. I have nightmares about a social worker black listing us from ever adopting. We are working really hard to get our income level up and create ample savings, but we are at the beginning. In my head it's a five year plan, but on paper, it looks like something that will take 20 years. When is the "right" time to start interviewing? This is my constant quandary... I think about it all day, every day. I think about it every time I see a child in public and every single time I hold one of the three newborns in my circle of friends(none of whom were adopted).

Sue - October 29th, 2011 at 5:08 PM
This brought tears to my eyes. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Tonya Larson - October 30th, 2011 at 7:49 AM
We too are back home with 3 beautiful Ethiopian children. Ages 10, 8, and 5. My bio children are 11, 9, and 7. We just got home 9-11-11 and things are nuts for certain. I don't think Waco will ever be the same as we have had meltdowns in a few public spaces. Right now we are hunkering down as much as possible. Thanks for your posts. A friend told me about them over a month ago but I was able to actually sit and read 1/2 of one last night. It is nice to hear that others experience some of the same life as we are right now. If you are ever in Waco look us up we would love to meet more families with Ethiopian children.
grace.to.be - October 31st, 2011 at 1:47 PM
this was so great~ love it
michelle - November 1st, 2011 at 8:52 AM
ahhhh! i needed this so much this morning. 2 bio kids (3
Lydia - November 1st, 2011 at 10:45 AM
Thank you for speaking truth from the heart. - I laughed and cried!
Mireya - November 1st, 2011 at 11:30 AM
I laughed
connie - November 3rd, 2011 at 7:37 PM
i laughed too, especially because i thought it was me talking! thanks for the reminder that my real family gives way better hugs than the fake one. God bless you and your real family and please keep writing!
Tricia Horne - November 4th, 2011 at 11:49 AM
Oh, how my children, esp my almost 11yr old son would love a visit to your house and a chance to surf down some stairs with your crew (we live in a ranch). Thanks for your refreshing honesty, and for sharing your heart. This especially speaks to me right now as we are on waitlist for what seems like forever for our daughter in Ethiopia...and as our family is going through some things which ahem, definitely don't qualify us for any "Fake Family" awards anytime soon. Do you mind if I repost your entry, of course crediting you/linking your site? It seems such a beautiful one to share during National Adoption Month.
Barbara - November 4th, 2011 at 1:00 PM
Oh my gosh - this is FANTASTIC! You need to seriously consider writing a book on parenting!
Katrina - November 4th, 2011 at 10:35 PM
I love it. Thank you so much for sharing. You have no idea how much I needed that today as just about everything seems to be going wrong in our adoption process and I was starting to begin to think that maybe I just want' perfect enough to do it. My daughter and I both have colds and even though I bathed her today she has snot and hair stuck to her and I have snot in mine from when she was crying because her and the dog where playing tug-a-war and when the dog let go my daughter's head slammed in the door frame. So I picked her up and the first thing she did was rub all her snot in my hair. So I decided to make homemade brownies tonight. Not because I have anything against store bought or packaged ones. Only because I needed a chocolate fix and the only thing I had that was anywhere near chocolate was the unsweetened coco in the cupboard. That's when my internet savvy skills kicked in and I found Grandma's Best Homemade Brownie recipe. Which came out okay except for the egg shells because I let my 4-year-old daughter help. So reading your post tonight was exactly what I needed. My family is about as real as they come :)
Gretchen - November 4th, 2011 at 10:43 PM
This is so real deal Holyfield. We're adopting a special needs child from Eastern Europe. She's 5. I have three sons ages 6, 4, and 2 and we're expecting another daughter. I gotta hope she's always loved clowns because she's about to join this circus. Thanks for keeping it real and lightening the guilt load for all of us. Our home visit is Monday evening and I'm weeing myself in anticipation. I feel better know though, bring it on SW gal. We've got nothing to hide. Just don't open the closets...
Danielle - November 5th, 2011 at 2:21 AM
Such a great post! Laughed, cried.
Mela Kamin - November 7th, 2011 at 1:35 PM
I loved this - came over from Kimba's and couldn't believe how much you nailed it. You described almost to a T, our real, wild, spirited, family and the behaved, controlled, picture-frame worthy one I contrive in my head. This is beautiful and so right on and I got a good laugh (at myself) about what I'm trying to project to the world, when all my kids want is to be loved and my expectations of them (and myself) are WAY too high. I'm not sure any family could live up to that. And, I'm not sure I'd enjoy being around them if they did. We like to dance wildly, sing loudly, make faces and jump off objects others wouldn't dare. We're adventurers, life-lovers, laugh givers and that's quite all right by me.
Jennifer Vedenoja - November 13th, 2011 at 2:16 PM
You are so funny! I laughed through this whole post! I too need fake family! Life is messy for sure. We have adopted a soon to be 3y/o from foster care and are now adopting her 1y/o half brother.....oh and we have a 1y/o foster boy too! In 18 months we went from zero to three! We are now out numbered!! I wouldnt change a thing my babies are a blessing to my husband and I everyday. One smile from any of them and life is right back on track (messy track but on track none the less)!
Michelle - November 15th, 2011 at 2:40 PM
If I had a bannister, my kids would slide down it. It's probably a very good thing that I don't have a bannister. Or a trampoline. They can find enough trouble with what we've got!

Maybe I need a fake family of my own....
Laura - November 23rd, 2011 at 2:40 PM
You blessed me...I'm a "working-away mom" now, as opposed to the "working at-home mom" I used to be for my first 4 kids. The last two are 13 and 11 and I feel like I'm doing them a great injustice not "being there" like I was for the older ones. I'll never get to the "fake family" status and I pray I will continue to love them just as they are...imperfect...like me.
Kathy - November 26th, 2011 at 2:01 AM
I laughed thru the entire post.... until I came to the "Can you enter" paragraph. thank you for all of it.


Kristen Strong - November 27th, 2011 at 10:20 PM
This has me bawling with the ugly cry and howling with laughter all at the same time. You bless wildly, Jen Hatmaker. Love you and your brood! xoxo
karrie - November 29th, 2011 at 1:34 PM
I love it! It is so nice to hear the truth and to see you still have a sense of humor! thanks for sharing the good, the bad and the ugly!
amy - November 30th, 2011 at 1:58 PM
I think you might be my long lost I never knew about you sister!! I have almost the exact same trampoline photo with my two adopted kids on it.
Rachel - December 5th, 2011 at 10:52 PM
We also, boogie board the stairs! (my boys also were the first to think of this, they think)
Thanks for the "real" laugh, laughing @ ourselves and our hangups. :)
Hannah - December 6th, 2011 at 3:52 AM
Awesome - as one of seven kids (mix of adopted and bio - not that WE really notice or care) I'm pretty sure my parents often dreamed of fake family perfection when we were playing up, the laundry was weeks behind because one of us had broken the machine by putting something in it that should never have been in there and our belongings were strewn everywhere because we were far too busy trying to figure out who could slide down all three flights of stairs, corners included without touching the floor with their feet and in the quickest time whilst shrieking at the tops of our lungs about cheating and what have you rather than putting our stuff away. I think we have turned out pretty well considering fake family was NOT us and we had a whole lotta fun on the way :) Hang in there, eventually we get old enough to move out of the house, we might even take some of our stuff with us and then you can have delightful conversations and snippets of grown up time with us - and you will miss the noise and destruction chaos and maybe even start filling in at the bottom - apparently empty nest syndrome can happen when you just lose one or two from the top end - leaving space for a few more at the bottom.

Enjoy :)
Sara - December 7th, 2011 at 5:51 AM
A friend shared one of your blog posts w/me today, and I LOVE THEM! You are awesome, and your life experiences and thoughts are similar to mine that its eerie! Ha! :D You just seem to have better answers than I do! I love a new perspective, and I love that you *get it*! :D Thanks so much! I'll be reading from now on! :D---Sara
MamaPat - December 8th, 2011 at 12:16 PM
What a Wake-Up Call !!!! Thank you for opening your heart and my eyes. If I can see through this foggy storm in my eyes, the warm feel in my heart that is growing is definitely worth this storm. Fake Family in the head, Indeed. I know them all too well. I'm so glad to have a little time to be able to correct a few blunders with my own children. I remember reading "I've Never Promised You a Rose Garden". That's a good beginning of a thought, but GOD has a better one, a real best seller. In His BIBLE He shares what we still need. Thanks Jen. You make the talk “plain”. MamaPat
colleen frantz - December 8th, 2011 at 1:13 PM
I have tried to steer clear from "you can adopt too" type conversations, because I felt so much LESS than perfect, and therefor not a candidate for such beauuuuty... I knew God was speaking this message to my heart, but the "HOW" gets me everytime... Oh MEEEE of little faith... Praising God that even when I have teensy weensy faith... HE remains HUGELY/COMPLETELY faithful ♥ PS...I don't usually "sneak" in to a "stranger's" page...but the title GRABBED me... ;) Thanks for daring to be real ;)
Amy - December 10th, 2011 at 1:07 PM
Am I allowed to just love you? Cause I do. The end.
Nina - December 11th, 2011 at 12:09 AM
Only "dirty" people get head lice! Love hearing moms make conversation about who the "originator" of the nit was THIS time. Probably came from the JONESES!
Christina - December 11th, 2011 at 4:30 PM
Please pass the following link along. It's a must read for all adoptive and potential adoptive parents..or anyone who has entertained the idea of adopting.


Thank you.
Rebecca Vahle - December 14th, 2011 at 11:58 PM
Your perspective is refreshing! Would love to have you on our radio show -it's time to be real and transparent as we love these kids! And oh how I love my fake family too!!!
Keri - December 16th, 2011 at 7:27 AM
Beautiful! Sending this to my sister who would love to adopt someday. THANK yOU. SO glad I found you. As a mom of 4 who has a fake family in my head, I also needed this. Who needs fake right??? :):)
Jill - December 20th, 2011 at 10:12 AM
I feel like we could be great friends and we have never met!!! Thanks for being so real and encouraging!
Jaime - December 20th, 2011 at 11:36 AM
I have no idea how I found this post, but I. LOVE. IT. We are not adoptive parents (yet), but SO MUCH of this rings true in my heart and head for my own little family of 5. Thank you. Such poignant thoughts and communicated with grace and humor. Really, LOVED IT.
Tammy - February 5th, 2012 at 9:45 AM
Jen...I adopted my 2 beautiful children from fostercare. I did this as a single parent. I went into thi adoption process with the idea of having one child but definitely had other plans. Now I have 2 and I could not be more blessed. I, too, thought that I had to be "perfect" but soon learned that I was not going to be. I fall short everyday but I trust that my children know Christ and that they are very loved. Thank you for sharing that we all fall short but you must persevere.
Jennifer Kovacs - February 11th, 2012 at 8:22 PM
Dang girlfriend...I am sure this tidbit of nothing much will get lost in amongst the really stirring and motivational posts, but I just had to let you know that our oldest broke his elbow (just shy of the growth plate) jumping OVER the safety net on our trampoline. And as good as he is, he only needed two passes gracefully over the net before catching his toe on the third try.

Even as I type this today, my 16 year old (the aforementioned trampoline kid) sits out in the other room with an icepack on his hand, not entirely convinced that he hasn't broken it rollerblading home from a friend's house. This would be break number 14. Don't call the authorities....just laugh with us and watch ibuprofen stock shoot to record highs.

I thought I would be a neurotic parent until God gave me 5 kids and a somewhat sense of humor...thank you for your honesty and vulnerability.

Lindsey - July 17th, 2012 at 9:01 PM
I needed this post in the most bad way today. We're not adopting... I'm just trying to stay afloat with my 3 year old and 20 month old (I still want more kids, to which my husband responds that I must be on some sort of crack). We had a terrible day with 3 year old tantrums. I still have bite marks on my wrist to prove it. And you know what? I left the splash park with my thrashing child thinking to myself that I just am not cut out for this job as a mom, because clearly, someone else has got to do a better job than I am doing... I am just a failure. Which is a direct lie from the enemy. Thank you for reminding me that if my heart is in the right place, and that if I wrap my son in love at the end of the night, that I am not a failure. I am only human.
Stephanie - July 18th, 2012 at 12:11 AM
Made me laugh - and challenged me too.

I have three little girls (ages 5, 3, and 3 months)...and the boogie boarding down the stairs? Looks awesome. I might even give it a try. ;)

Thanks for writing out your story in such an honest and humble way.
Dara - July 18th, 2012 at 7:40 AM
Jen, I love it! We recently adopted two little girls from Uganda to our family. We now have 5 girls ranging from 10 down to 16months and our lives are fun and crazy. I was "Martha Stewart" for my first two daughters and so protective. By number 3, necessity kicked in and the boundaries lowered quite a bit. Now with the two little ones, I would love us to be the Fake Family, but alas, we are not. I have to admit I have picked the pacifier and not washed it and there are many other violations of the Fake Family that I have done. But like you said, being in a loving family that God put together is so much more important than the piles of laundry by the laundry room door! Thanks for a laugh!
Tracy - July 27th, 2012 at 6:33 PM
Just found your blog, but I'm hooked already! I think you managed to sneak into my head and steal my thoughts! Love your fake family. I have one too;-) And they are marvelous. However, my real family with a husband and 3 rowdy boys is a little messier. Thanks for being transparent with us.
Rachel - July 22nd, 2013 at 9:11 AM
So funny, so true, so real---welcome to real family!! Our family couldn't pull off fake family if our lives depended on it. Thanks for being so honest in your blog and know that there are many more "real" families than "fake" families. I look forward to continue to read what you have to say.
Marcie - July 22nd, 2013 at 3:50 PM
Congrats on making it until Day 4 with Remy. Our child ate Chick-fil-A for her first lunch in America. I don't feel one ounce of shame over it, and I have no doubt that our new additions coming home later this year will have a fairly similar experience. I can't help it that 6 weeks in Ukraine makes me crave Chick-fil-A and Taco Bell. They'll just have to deal.

P.S. When I was a child, we also sprayed water over our no-net death trap. No one was ever injured. Not that I know of anyways...
Marilynn - April 14th, 2018 at 6:25 PM
I am super anti-adoption (pro guardianship), but I really enjoyed your post. You write with humor, love and warmth.
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