My Newest Adventure…

 

I’m starting a preschool. Have I told you that?  Maybe not…I wasn’t sure that I wanted to blog about it, because it’s really different from what I’ve blogged about in the past.  But I’m not really concerned with that anymore.  My blog has always been a journal of my life and thoughts and I believe that it should stay that way.  So here I am, sharing a new adventure with you…

Believe it or not, this is yet another dream I’ve always had. It just hasn’t been the right time until this year.  I’ve always loved teaching children, and as the years have passed, I’ve been so blessed to have so many different experiences that have all shaped my educational philosophy.  From teaching in public school to homeschooling my own children to teaching all age groups in churches and volunteering in various mentoring programs, to adopting a child from the foster care system, I’ve had the great blessing to use all these things to shape my ideals about education.

I’m really excited about this new adventure. I’ll be using all my experience to make a memorable, meaningful preschool experience.  Our preschool will be nature-based.  We have a large garden and small farm behind the preschool that we will be visiting often.  We will take nature walks and play a whole lot.  We will build a strong foundation for future learning in all subject areas, but specifically in reading, writing and math.  One of the greatest qualities in children is their natural curiosity, and we will use that to foster a deep love of learning.  But more important than all that, my personal goal as a teacher is to teach them about Jesus.  It is my deepest desire that they know scripture by heart, that they hear all the great bible stories that each point so clearly back to The Gospel, and that they know why I love Him so much.

I’ve realized over the years that children don’t need a room full of bright colors and busy decorations. For children with sensory issues and hyperactivity, that is a huge distraction that makes them uncomfortable and doomed to fail.  So we have been working hard on remodeling an older home.  We are designing it to have the feel of a home, with a touch of vintage schoolhouse.  Our hope is that children walk in and immediately feel comfortable, peaceful, and at home.

I’m looking forward to telling you more about the preschool. In the next few weeks, I’ll be giving you a full tour via this blog right here.  But for now, here are some pictures of the transformation.

the schoohouse before

This was what the house looked like when we started. Check out that 1950’s floor!

the schoolhouse ceiling before

When my sweet in-laws peeled off the ceiling tile we found a boarded ceiling!

the schoolhouse old

Then, we ripped the walls off and found shiplap underneath. Some of the boards were original shiplap. So cool!

the schoolhouse 2

A lot of paint, new windows, new floor, and beautiful trim, and it’s starting to look great!

the schoolhouse scallop

The scallop you see here is one of the many nods to the vintage feel we are going for.

the schoolhouse with floor

And this is the first room almost finished. Can you just imagine lots of learning happening here?

 

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 For more information about our preschool, you can check out our Facebook Page.

The Schoolhouse Facebook Page

https://www.facebook.com/theschoolhouseinmorrilton/

Preparing Your Biological Children for Adoption

Preparing Your Biological Children for Adoption

When we began the long process leading up to adoption, we knew that this was not going to be a husband and wife thing. It was going to be a family thing.  We knew that we would need our children to be on board, because we had a suspicion that it wouldn’t always be easy, and we never wanted our kids to resent the decision to adopt.  Looking back now, I can clearly see that God had his hand at work in our kids long before we ever knew that adoption was on the horizon.  So, I wanted to share some of the things that we did (both knowingly and unknowingly) that helped to prepare our children’s hearts for adopting their brother.

  • Read missionary biographies. We particularly loved George Mueller and Gladys Aylward. Those were two of our all-time favorites. These are really great to show the hardships and the blessings that come through adoption. When we were reading these books, we had no idea that God was preparing our hearts, but when the time came, those biographies boosted our faith in God, and helped us through some of the more trying times that we faced.
  • Talk about it. A lot. We started the conversation over a year before we began moving forward with the adoption process. It started very casually, just discussing the fact that many children don’t have families and that more families are needed. Then it became more serious as we started discussing it in a more personal way. Some questions to ask are:
    • How would you feel about getting a new brother/sister?
    • Would you enjoy sharing your room?
    • Will you begin to pray about this?
    • How do you think adopting a child will change our family?
  • Discuss reality. Everyone has the picture of Little Orphan Annie in their head when they hear the word “adoption”. But in reality, it is not like that. There is a lot of hurt and pain involved with adopting a child, and that will affect your children and your family as a whole. So it’s important to talk about the reality of adoption, not the pre-conceived ideals.
  • Give them your time. Waiting is one of the hardest parts of adoption, but trust God with the timing because it’s also the greatest gift. During that pre-adoption period when your paperwork is finished and you are just waiting for a call, take that time to focus on your bios. It will be a while before you can do that again. For a little bit, most of your energy is going to go to your newest addition, so spend one-on-one time with each one of them. Talk to them, play with them, and give them lots of love to store up.
  • Pray Together. We prayed together with our biological kiddos a lot before and during the adoption process. We wanted them to know that God was in control of the situation, and that we were depending entirely on Him (because we definitely were!). We wanted them to see God at work and one of the main ways to do that is to see God answering your prayers.

Preparing Your Biological Children for Adoption

  • Keep the lines of communication open…before and after adoption. Nothing was off limits for our kids during the pre- and post-adoption stages. If it was on their hearts, we wanted to know it. There were several times that we had to pry out a confession about how they felt. But it was so important to let them get it off their chest, and to let them know that their feelings were 100% normal.
  • Point out their God-given qualities that they will get to exercise through adoption. We really tried to play up my kids’ character qualities. I remember saying things like, “Isaac, you have such a kind and forgiving heart. That is going to be so helpful to you and so comforting to your new brother.”

 

These are just a few ideas that will help to prepare your biological children for adoption. Adoption is such a blessing, but it should not be taken lightly.  It absolutely will change your family.  Expect your family dynamics to shift, your routines to be upset for a while, and your children to feel a little unsettled for a while.  But rest assured and know that it’s only a short time before things begin to settle and the blessings start flowing.