This turn of events in our family also meant that I had to step back and look at the needs of each of my children as individuals and the needs of our family as a whole. This proved very difficult to do because it forced me to make some decisions that were outside of our goals as a family.
We feel very strongly about homeschooling our children but bringing Sarge home totally changed the dynamics of our family in the drastic ways I have already described. Those first few months were extremely chaotic and I was searching for ways to bring order and stability back to our home. In a moment of desperation and weighing our options, we decided it would be best for our family as a whole if Sweet Pea attended the preschool Little Bug had also attended at age three. With it being a 2 minute drive away from our house and the environment being one that we totally trusted, we enrolled Sweet Pea in late September. With one child in preschool three mornings a week it gave our family some measure of peace with only two children home.
Oh but I worried about my little Sweet Pea. I felt like I had “shipped her away”. At that season of our lives, I had to for the sanity of our entire family. I wanted all three of my children home though, but I knew this was just a season and I knew sending Sweet Pea to preschool for a couple months until things calmed down was best for everyone. Including Sweet Pea. She needed a push to grow up some; to be her own little self without constantly being in the shadow of her dominant big sister. Preschool seemed to be a good fit for her. She would come home and say she had fun.
But then my Mommy-antenna’s began to feel that the needs of my children actually were not being met. This is how most mornings would go down:
Me: Sweet Pea, it’s a school day!
Sweet Pea: (crying) I don’t want to go to school.
Little Bug: Mommy, where are we going today??
Me: Nowhere, Little Bug.
Little Bug: (crying) But I want to go somewhere!!!!
I was shipping my introverted-quiet child away from home while my extroverted-loud child was feeling like a caged prisoner because leaving the house with Sarge in tow was virtually impossible unless it was for a doctor’s appointment for him, of which there were many in those first few months home.
And so it was time to reevaluate. Our original plan to help bring peace and a new normal to the family was no longer working.
That was when we started considering schooling options for Little Bug – something six months ago was not even on my radar. We were going to homeschool. Period. No discussion necessary. It was a decision we had made years ago before Little Bug could even walk.
But now our circumstances were such that I could not implement the plans I had in place that would have given Little Bug plenty of social interaction throughout the week.
It is amazing how God provides our every need. That has been a theme throughout Sarge’s entire adoption. From baby items that appeared out of nowhere as soon as it went public that we were adopting a baby boy to….learning of a school less than 10 minutes from our home that partners with homeschool families in the education of their children.
During one of our crisis moments where we felt our family was drowning, God laid this school on both of our hearts. When we finally found time to come together and talk about what we needed to do bring stability to our children, we both mentioned this school.
One thing lead to another and after I went to observe the Kindergarten class in action and spoke to the administrators at the school, we both felt certain this school was our answer.
Little Bug’s first day will be January 6th and we are all elated!!
What did this teach me?
Even when we have strong convictions about something, we must keep our minds open and our hearts sensitive to the needs of our children. Half a decade ago when I already knew I wanted to homeschool my children and felt strong convictions about doing so, I had no idea during Little Bug’s Kindergarten year we would adopt an infant that would totally throw our homeschooling plans for a loop!
Above even our strong convictions, we have to be in tune to our children’s needs. It quickly became apparent to me that full-time homeschooling was actually not best for my Little Bug. This school will feed her need to get out of the house and be social three days of the week while still allowing us to homeschool two days of the week. I can’t think of a more perfect arrangement for her and our family as a whole.
We pulled Sweet Pea out of preschool at the beginning of December. As the months have turned since we arrived back home from our four weeks in the NICU with Sarge, I have seen some insecurities arise in Sweet Pea. She has a delicate personality anyway. I had no time to prepare her that we were leaving…..because we didn’t even know we were leaving for such a long time when we left! She attached herself to her Grams while Grams was her main caretaker during that time as I knew she would, but recently Sweet Pea has showed insecurities with not wanting me to leave her at all. Totally understandable after what her little just-turned-3-year-old self went through, so I am looking forward to three mornings a week to focus on Sweet Pea while Little Bug is at school. Sweet Pea needs that individual time with me just as much as Little Bug needs to get out of the house.
I’ve learned part of being a parent is being able to put aside our own wishes and dreams sometimes to do what is best for our children. Little Bug attending this school was no where near any of my plans for her, but I know that now it is what is best for her and I am thankful to God for providing this school for our family.