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Cheryl's Parenting Journal

Entry 46 ~ April 18, 2010
~ Drying Up

FloodIt's been three weeks since the big flood here in Rhode Island, and I'm happy to say that we are finally dry again! The damages that many families in our area received was just devastating, and although we lost our entire family room, my angels were looking out for me and protected our laundry room which is also located on the bottom floor. Every time I look around at our now exposed concrete walls and floor, I look out to the laundry room and smile gratefully that the water did not touch my two best pals-Mr. and Mrs. Front loading Washer and Dryer. (And no, I'm not kidding!) I had a very good taste of living without both our washer and dryer at two separate times during the past year, and I will gladly live without nice carpet and wallboard for awhile as long as I can keep our family of ten in clean underwear!

Having never experienced a natural disaster before (unless you can count one of our eight children stuffing a toy down the toilet and forcing it to clog and then flood the bathroom while I was out food shopping), these past few weeks have been a great reminder of what truly is important in life-how we spend our time, not what happens to our stuff!

Timing in life can truly be everything and many times we don't realize that until after things play out a certain way. For example, after six years of infertility we made the decision to put all fertility treatments on hold and concentrate on adoption instead. We researched agencies, found a social worker to do our home study, put together a very heartfelt scrapbook for birthmothers to review, and finally made peace with the fact that we might never have biological children but we would still have a beautiful family through adoption. Our adoption agency in Colorado was very frank in telling us that adoptions for Caucasian babies usually took over two years. Two weeks later, we were the beaming parents of a brand new baby girl!

Let's get back to that timing in life matters. When we finished our home study in late May of 1993, our adoption scrapbook was sent to our adoption agency and was given to our birthmother by mistake. You see, she was with another adoption agency prior to ours and didn't like how she was being treated. She broke all ties with that agency and came to ours on the same day that our scrapbook had arrived in their office. She saw it on the social worker's desk and asked to look at it. Within 10 minutes she had decided she wanted Brian and I to be her baby's parents! If the timing of that situation had not played out the way it did, we would not be Brittany's parents today. She will be turning 17 this June, and I can remember her adoption like it was yesterday.

FloodThere is no good time for a flood, but if we had to have one, this was the time for it to occur. My husband's company has been branching off into different areas of marketing and since he is in charge of that department, he is required to travel for most of the week. This has been going on for the past year now, so the kids and I are pretty much used to it now. That doesn't mean we like it, but in this economy, we're just grateful he has a good job.

On Monday, March 29th he packed his car and headed off to Vermont. He was to be almost near Canada and would be gone until the weekend. That day it rained steadily and by dinner time the water started rushing into our family room. I knew I was in trouble and would never be able to keep up with the steady increase of water that was rising. I thought for sure I would just break down in tears, but when you have eight sets of eyes on you and you're the only parent in the home at that given time, crying is just not an option. Instead, I broke out my hot pink rain boots and decided to let go of trying to control the water and accepted that in the long run, whatever happened would be part of a bigger plan, so I relaxed and just kept bailing.

Within an hour, the phone rang and it was my husband. He was still in Rhode Island and had never gotten to Vermont due to the rain and would be home momentarily! Yahoo! I was not alone after all. He returned with some very important essentials, too. A brand new wet-vac, a small sump pump, and a large bottle of wine! Ha ha

We spent the entire night and well into the wee hours of the morning pumping out our family room. The following day schools were canceled across the state because highways were flooded and homes and cars were just floating away. We may have lost our family room, but at least we didn't lose our entire home like many did.

AnnieThe past three weeks have been a whirlwind. Five of our eight kids play baseball and we go non-stop between 19 practices and games 7 days a week. This coming week is the spring vacation for our schools, so the kids will be home looking for rides back and forth to practices, friend's houses and to the movie theatre, the roller rink or anyplace I can take them so they are not bored! Thankfully, the sun has been shining down upon us here in the Ocean State, so our family room has finally dried out. The walls have all been ripped out because mold began to grow like wildfire, and the floors are all gone as well. We have moved most of the toys and furniture out of that room and are trying to get used to living with a lot less living space until we can get it reconstructed again. That, unfortunately, could take months.

Living without our family room has been tough, but it's only a room with stuff. (And it's one less room I have to clean for the time being!) It can eventually be replaced, but family cannot, so that is what I focus on when my bare feet touch the cool, damp concrete every morning. Like our adoption or having my husband home when the flood hit, timing can be everything and I have faith that our house will get put back together at the right time!

Hoping this finds you all well and enjoying a beautiful and "dry" spring!

Take care,
    ~ Cheryl

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