Friday, May 24, 2013

The Next Great Leap.

After listing pretty much every thing we own in ads and writing "for sale" on our cars so many people began to ask "are you moving?" "where to?" "why?". Here is the post to answer all questions.

Moving is our plan. It is difficult for me to even type "Plan Move" because the public-ness of making this announcement means it is real. No turning back. Our whole world turned upside down.

So after the Summit Orphan Conference (last blog post) we got our notice that our adoption homestudy is expiring and we get one free renewal. We began our update of paperwork, the home visit, more than a dozen references and just have to get our physicals to make it complete. I began dreaming about our next child. We began praying for two 7 year old boys waiting in Hong Kong (Lifeline link). We even began praying for a beautiful sibling group of five in FL waiting for adoption (AdoptUsKids link). Our kiddos REALLY want more siblings, like a lot more, five more scares me half to death, literally gave me an anxiety attack when we began to consider it. I am human. I get scared. I think "not me" but I know if that is where God calls us I will walk obediently and He will strengthen me and open my heart wide to love more regardless of the difficulty.

What does adoption have to do with moving? Nothing. That is the scariest part of this Plan Move. Adoption will be put on hold. Although many women struggle with infertility and although I am currently barren I know God is the giver and taker of life. I have actually taken comfort in knowing that I have two doors open to receiving the blessing of children. God can give me children through adoption or open my womb. Plan Move scares me. It closes the one door that God has used to bless us. It leaves only the barren door open. It tests my trust in God.

Okay okay, get on with it, what is Plan Move!?! I have to continue with a little back story may want to go back to Pinterest if this is too wordy :)

Brian and I were your normal American dreamers. We were newly wed and both working full-time. We had our apartment and new car but seemed to just make ends meet. A year went by and our wealth grew, our pay raised and we bought a 2nd new car and moved into a nicer apartment. Another year and income is growing but our standard of living was growing faster. We bought a house. November 2006. We were finally there, after just two years. We sported the nice cars, beautiful, cozy, 3 bedroom house, perfect for our 2 planned children (one boy and one girl, of course!) in a very upscale neighborhood. We made it! But we didn't make it on our money. The payments began to pour in and we were sinking fast. The market crashed and we instantly lost any equity we ever hoped to have. Only a year into our perfect dream we were on the brink of foreclosure. Thankfully Brian heard Dave Ramsey on the radio and we became serious about staying afloat. We worked overtime, two, even three jobs to pay off the debt we had racked up so quickly. I dog sat, cleaned houses, Brian mowed lawns, we painted, built furniture, we did every odd job we could pick up. Finally in October 2008 we paid off $50,000, all that was left was the mortgage. The waters were lowering and we could swim again.

Then God captured our hearts. When our strength was spent and we were weary He adopted us into His family, His heritage, His inheritance. Our father quickly showed us in His word that we are to care for the least of these and we ran after that call by becoming foster parents (link to our fostercare/adoption timeline). We wanted to serve these children and their birth parents but God had other plans, He made us parents of five...QUICKLY! Now we are just a normal family but the door to serving through foster care has been what?

God has been convicting us to walk down a much more difficult path than adopting again. He is calling us to finish swimming in debt for good and walk again on dry ground. "Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another;" Romans 13:8 "The borrower is slave to the lender" Proverbs 22:7. God speaks a lot on debt in His word (google can tell you). We have racked up $20k in debt since kiddos joined us and still have our very high mortgage payment. So this is Plan Move:

Sell everything
Sell house
Buy or rent small piece of land (or pay rent at RV park)
Move into RV 
Save up every dime of Brian's income for 2-3 years
Pay CASH for whatever house we want
Pray for a new plan (kids say adopt 20 more kids...hope that isn't God inspired)

So that is it. Plan Move. Simple yet terrifying. Living in a 320sqft RV for 2 years with 5 kids and 1 bathroom will be a walk of humility, patience and contentment, all are SUPER hard, scary lessons. I pray that through this God teaches us, strengthens us, and helps us leave a legacy for our children. That they would not seek an American dream but a God's will dream! Not a fleeting dream but a dream that walks down the hard roads for the long-lasting inheritance in an eternal kingdom.

***For anyone currently in our shoes when we were newly married or even before marriage. STOP! Take the shoes off and do not borrow money! Work, save up, live low now and build up so that you are not dragging your kids into the low life later to rebuild.***

Imagine the money you could give if it wasn't tied up in your mortgage!
Imagine the ways you could serve if those credit cards were cut up!
Imagine the time you could take off to love on your little ones if you drove a paid off car!

That is where our imagination is. The journey may be tough but the reward will be GREAT!

Posted by Shannon
Soli Deo gloria - Glory to God alone


  1. I just found your blog recently(Your kids are so beautiful!) so you may have answered this already. Are you still going to continue homeschooling after you move? The kids seem to have flourished with being taught at home, but even after seeing how much storage the Rv has, I was wondering where you will fit computers, school supplies etc. Also, I do not know if you have ever been to or not, but you have so much in common with the adoptive parents on that website that I thought you might enjoy checking it out. :)

    1. Hello Cherbos! I checked out the blog link you posted, I do love them already, and they have chickens! We hope our move will bring land to garden and have chickens and goats. We will continue to homeschool for sure but we sold the computers. We are going to a more basic, bible and life-based learning style. Less books and curriculum and more hands on retention learning. We hope to instill two things in our kiddos, God comes first and life is the classroom to study His creation. With such small space I am sure we will spend lots of time outside ;)

  2. Hey!
    First of all, I would love to tell you how much of an encouragement your family is! One of my younger brothers is adopted and my family has a heart for those little ones for has been a beautiful blessing to our family. It is fun to read your blog. As a mama of a 10 month old boy, it is encouraging to read stories of other mamas out there! As a teacher, I had a few questions regarding your education goals. How will you teach your little ones basic skills such as reading, writing, math without curriculum? Are you still part of ATI? How will your older ones study chemistry, biology, history?
    I think it is awesome to just pack up and move like that! Good luck! Where are you guys located now? Will you move out of state? WHere are you thinking of moving?

  3. God bless your journey!! I found your page by your "home for sale" listing on the Tallahassee FB page. Love all the Bible verses in your you paint? :)
    Praying that you sell!
    I too have the desire to be out of debt. We are in full time prison ministry in NW Florida and we learned a few things in the 8 years we've been here. Sometimes lessons are painful! :/ But God is good!! :) Blessings~

    1. Hi Twila! Thanks for visiting! I do paint for fun! Prison ministry is such a blessing! One of our birth mother's spent some time in prison and I was so thankful to the prison ministry there for their effect on her life!

  4. We did this via Jim Sammon's seminar on Financial Freedom (a totally life changing not-just-about-finances message) and now we also live debt free. God is so amazing and His ways DO work! Glad you are part of ATIs conferences now, hope to meet you in Big Sandy someday! (Just found your blog by 'chance' so thought I'd say congrats! See our latest God story on debt-free living here:
    Be encouraged! Press on!

    1. I went to your blog and I think I love you! Can we talk, like for real? We are at the beginning of our journey and wise counsel would be a blessing! Lord willing we will be at Big Sandy ATI 2014! Thank you! Your blog has been an encouragement!

    2. I Shannon - I think I love you too! We've been trying to adopt for years (super long stories and frustrations abound) so I cry from both joy and sadness when I see your blog. ;-) God willing, we'll be in Big Sandy again this year in spite of our move and all else going on. And of course we can chat - let's start with email and then I'll send you our other contact info. Thanks!

  5. Shannon,

    found your blog from your amazon review of Parenting the Difficult Child! Looks like we have much in common! I love your resource list and website and book lists and read a little of your story here. We have 10 children: 1 bio, 3 from Liberia, 6 from foster/adopt and also, one soon to join us for extended respite. walking this journey together is so encouraging. hope to get to know you better!