Hi, I’m Audrey. I don’t really know where to start when introducing myself. When you have children it’s easy to identify yourself as your children’s mother even though there’s so much more to you than that. I grew up a military brat. We moved eleven times before I entered high school. I have now lived in the same area for the past 21 years and it feels great to have roots. Growing up, my life goals revolved around getting married and having children one day. I value education but have never had any specific career goals in mind; only family.
Love and Marriage
I met my husband during my freshman year in high school; his senior year. Five years later we met again during my freshman year in college. After two months of dating, Josh proposed and I said YES! It’s true what your mama says, “When you know, you know!” Thirteen months later we were married, on February 23, 2002. He was 23 and I was 19. Josh is a web developer and graphic designer. He is the master craftsman behind my blog; my best friend, biggest cheerleader, and love of my life.
Babies and Children
Josh and I talked about children long before we were married. We knew we wanted a large family. Three months after our wedding we found out we were expecting our first son. We brought Joshua home from the hospital on our first anniversary. Seven months after Joshua was born we were shocked to learn we were expecting our second son, Jesse. Three years later I delivered our third son, Owen. We became foster parents when Owen was two. We welcomed 13 children into our home while we were foster parents. Some stayed for several months and some for only a few days. They always came in sibling groups of two or three. It opened our eyes and hearts to the needs of children in our community and abroad. We began feeling the pull towards adoption. The foster agency we were working with at the time had a number 1 goal of reunification with biological family so it was highly unlikely that we would ever have the opportunity to adopt any of our foster children. We eventually resigned as foster parents and began the adoption process. We found our daughters on a Waiting Children page of an adoption agency based out of Colorado. It was love at first sight and we began pursuing them that very day. Throughout our adoption we were hopeful that we would also get pregnant again. Much to our surprise, we experienced seven years of infertility. On December 4, 2013, we were elated to discover that I was pregnant again. On Joshua’s 11th birthday we found out that baby number 4 would be our very first daughter. Annie was born August 6, 2014. Six months later we brought our three adopted daughters home. Within six months we had gone from three to seven children and had sold our home of ten years. Seven months after our daughters came home, it was confirmed that we were most certainly not struggling with infertility anymore–we were expecting baby number 8…to be continued
We first laid eyes on our daughters on September 26, 2012. They were in the Democratic Republic of Congo and they had lost their entire family to TB and malnutrition. Eliana was 4 at the time and the twins were 2. Our adoption process was a very long and expensive one. We passed court in February 2013 and our daughters became legally ours. Seven months later the girls received their US Visas and were officially allowed to enter the states. One day later the Congolese government issued a suspension on all adopted children leaving their country. 899 days and $140,000 later our daughters finally came home. I hope to fill the pages of a book one day with all the miraculous details that encompassed our adoption journey. It’s far too long for the “About” page on this blog.
Our Pursuit of Simplicity
Many years ago we took Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. We began a very slow journey to becoming debt free. We have had seasons of being gazelle intense and seasons of mere survival as our adoption pulled every resource we had at our disposal. One thing that we have learned through our adoption and our quest to be debt-free is that we value simplicity. We don’t aspire to have a huge home with a bedroom for each of our children. We don’t need or want new cars, in fact I think we’d rather be confined to bicycles than ever have another car payment again. In the midst of our adoption a family in our church made us an offer we couldn’t refuse. You see, it was costing us over $1500/month to pay for our daughters’ room and board, food, and medical care while they waited to come home; this was on top of the astronomical fees for adopting three children abroad. Our friends have a large family farm and there was a vacant double wide on their property. We didn’t even have to think twice. We sold our home of ten years and moved into a double wide trailer in order to continue supporting our daughters and hopefully pay off debt in the process. Little did we know we would bring our daughters home just one month later. We now live as a homeschooling family of nine in a three bedroom trailer…and we absolutely love it. The freedom that comes from living simply and below your means is indescribable. We no longer lie awake at night wondering how we’re ever going to get out of debt. Our children have wide open spaces to play and explore with best friends just a backyard away. We’re finally seeing our debt snowball grow and our debt total diminish. Pursuing simplicity has also changed our goals and caused us to reevaluate what is important to us. Our goal is to live in this trailer until we are completely debt-free; probably another two years. We will then find our own little piece of land where we can continue to live the farm life with our big family. Simple doesn’t have to be boring or lacking.
“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:11-13