Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Where do I begin?

June 2002 started something in my life that I never dreamed of. You know when you are a teenager and you sit and dream about being married and having a family one day. I mean, heck, you play "house" as a kid and play mom with all the little neighborhood kids and we all know we will have kids one day and all that jazz. But, when I thought about those things I never thought, I'll take in some nephews and a niece too, along with my other kids...

I was twenty-five years old when Bryan came to live with us and then soon after in July of 2002 18 joined him in our home. Marc and I treated it kind of like we were playing house. We had one child of our own (10) and we were so happy to have him and we were still in that mode of "we can do anything." So taking on two children who were, at that time, ten and twelve sounded like fun. We knew it would be hard, we just didn't realize how much of a commitment we were making at the time. We agreed to take care of Bryan and 18 for one year so that their parents could clean up their lives and get things back in order.

A year passed and then two. We were beginning to realize this could be a permanent arrangement. We decided our tiny home was not big enough and we needed to build a new one to accomodate all of us.

Shortly after moving into our new home we were asked to take on 13 who was eight at the time. We prayed, and although I had been having some of the toughest times of my life the spirit confirmed to us that we needed to take him into our family and home also. Soon after he moved in we found we were going to have another baby, 4. So now we had five kids, two of my own and three of Marc's sister's kids.

Times got tougher between Bryan and I. I had to make the hard decision to have him move in with his grandparents who at that time and just moved in a block away from where we live. We were still able to see him and 18 and 13 were still able to be close to him as much as possible.

Over time I began to regret my decision to let him go. I ached knowing that I had failed. I wished I could have been a better mother to him. I vowed I would never make that same decision again and no matter how hard it was I would do my best to be 13's and 18's mother along with my own children.

Last year 18 and 13 started calling us Mom and Dad. We were all really becoming a close family. Things were REALLY hard but, we were really all a family. It felt real.

In March of last year we found out we were pregnant again. We were all so excited. 18 kept saying how she hoped it was another girl—she enjoys having a sister. We found out it was a girl and we were all so excited. All was well. Life was really hard but so worth it. I was happy. We were happy.

Then we heard news that 18 and 13's birth mother, Amy, and 13's birth father, Frank, (18's stepfather) would be moving in with Marc's parents. We were all devastated. We were scared. Things were going well. I was angry. Now I had to try to raise my kids in front of their birth parents. I had fought so hard to make our family a family. To be their mom. And Marc to be their dad.

Things were really awkward, uncomfortable, weird. We all felt it, I could tell.

Frank and Amy were coming to church. We were happy because Amy had been inactive and Frank was not a member. But, at the same time, I hated it. I felt like I was in a competition. The kids didn't know how to act or what to do.

We had family get togethers, even though it felt strange, because we wanted to be Christlike. We were trying to do what was right. I was stressed. I was scared. I wanted to keep "my" kids. The stress was getting high. Baby came six weeks early, and I think it was probably because of all the stress I was under.

Baby seemed to bring a strong spirit with her. There was a special feeling that all of us felt. She came for a great reason, many reasons... I never even knew then, how many reasons.

One night the missionaries showed up for a BBQ we were having outside. We went inside after we were done eating and gave the Family Home Evening Lesson. After the lesson one of the missionaries asked Frank if they could meet with him later that week. A few weeks later, Frank told us that the missionaries had set a January 9th baptism and it was November! Huh? I figured it wouldn't really happen. Frank had never seemed to really like the church and I felt bad for the missionaries high hopes.

I was wrong.

Frank was baptized. During his baptism, I could feel the spirit so strong, Frank was beaming. Anyone there would not be able to deny the light he had. It was inspiring. But, even though I felt the spirit my heart ached as I watched 13 sit by him and Amy. Something seemed right, but, I couldn't handle it. "I can't give them up, don't ask me to," I pleaded with God.

So many people will have questions, they will be so confused. I am trying to write it down in a way that all of you will understand.

God is a loving God, our Heavenly Father. He loves all of us. He wants families to be together. He wants all of us to be happy.

I made the toughest decision of my life so far. On Monday, January 18—Martin Luther King Day and the day before 13's fourteenth birthday, I sent 13 and 18 back to Amy and Frank, their parents.

I shed many tears, but the spirit was strong, so strong I couldn't deny it. Amy and Frank were so happy that they shed tears along with me.

I know now that Heavenly Father and all my guardian angels were up there during my heartache, pain, and inadequacy, saying, "You can do it Rachael, just hang in there a little but longer, they are almost ready. Please hang on. Endure it well." And I did it! This is truly a miracle. A real miracle. My heart was softened so that I could turn my kids over to them, and they have made miraculous changes in a short time. I see now, all things that have happened in my married life have led to this moment.

13 and 18 are happy. I am happy. Marc is happy. 10 and 4 have really been bonding and taking care of each other. But, we all still shed a few tears. It was our life for 7 1/2 years. Now we open a new chapter in "Our Life." I love you 13 and 18, I always will. I hope I will always be your other "mom."

God is wondrous. I know there is no way I could ever do this without Him. I am so thankful that Jesus Christ knows the pain I have had and is there to lift me.

Now I will focus on my three children and their needs.

I wanted to put a slide show together of some of my favorite pics of 13 and 18 from 2003 - 2007. (I am too lazy to scan in the ones from before my digital camera.) I also included Bryan's pics because, well, I am attached to him too.

Side note: I know some of you will ask. We still get to see 13 and 18 a lot. They live close and hope to stay close. I hope to have them sleep over soon. I guess I get to take on a grandma-type role—have fun with them and then send them home. :)



And this video will be one of my many treasured moments...

The Gibson Family from Davey Orgill on Vimeo.

14 remarks:

julianne orth said...

you are such a great person for taking them into your home and i am sure that you and the kids are both better because of it.

seesuerun said...

Man, I am crying and still crying...You never cease to AMAZE me!!!

Joel and Jessie said...

very touching....jess

Aaron said...

Wow!

amyandrandy said...

i have always thought what incredible mother you are to them. you have so much love, it's inspiring to me. way to stay positive and know that Heavenly Father has a plan for you and for them. much love from us.

Julie said...

Rachael,
I am sure that was the hardest thing you have ever had to do. You and Marc have been the best role models and examples to those kids. You have done an amazing job taking care of them and including them as your own children. You are wonderful!

Rosanne Orgill said...

wow what a shock you have done a great job with the kids. they had a great life with you guys. How wonderful and blessed they were to be with you and so wonderful that their parents have turned their lives around so they can get their family put back together. You will always be their parents they will forever be grateful for you two taking them in and loving them. Way to go:) God is with you and them.

Rebecca said...

Oh Rachael! You are amazing. What
a wonderful mom you are. What a
blessing you have been for those kids. All three of them have been
given the ideals that you and Marc
have taught them in your home. THanks for being such a great
example for all of us!
Rebecca in Texas.

crombie said...

Okay I couldn't hold back the tears when reading that. What a perfect example of turning your will over to a loving Heavenly Father. That was so beautifully written that I think anyone who knows you could understand why you guys have made the choices that you did and be inspired by your faith. Thanks for reminding me to always find the good in things too!

Anonymous said...

Rach, you are so great and no one could ask for better! I am so proud of you and am amazed with your wonderful spirit and willingness to do what is right. I love you and hope you have good times with all your family (living with you or not). Take care!
Mary

Travis and Cami said...

you are so awesome rachael! :) i can't believe the faith that you've had. you're such an amazing mother.

Sam & Nikki said...

First...a huge hug!

Second...This explaines a ton to my little brain. When 13 came to trick or treat, I asked how his 'mom' was. He gave me a little quirky look and then I asked if the new baby was here.

I didn't have a clue, I guess I need to come to church more often. If not for the social life, at least I won't be in the dark.

I am happy to know that I will still see 13 around the neighborhood. He really does bring a smile to my face when I chat with him. He happened to be the only reason that I ever open the door for the fast offerings. Just to see his grin...he is pretty darn good at collecting from Sam and I. lol...I don't know why we have such a hard time with that.

Ok, small novel here, sorry.

lisa G said...

Thanks for sharing the miracle! I love you ALL.

[Nikki - you're cute. I miss you. Another reason you should come is because then we would get to be with you and that would make our day better!]

Holly's Mom said...

What an amazing story, in a way you grew up with them, i could not imagine at 25 taking on two older children I guess was a tween and 13 soon to be, such a change from your one child. 18 is almost a grown up now and you have given her the opportunity to bond with her birth mother before she goes into the world, but i am sure she will always think of you as a mother too. I bet it is really hard on your kids, I wish you all luck and love, sometimes the right thing is always the hardest thing to do.