Welcome to the KingZoo and Funny Farm, where we learn to live, laugh, and love together. Here you'll find snippets of life in our zoo, parenting tips we've learned along the way, reflections on shining God's light in this world, passions in the realm of orphan care, and our journey as parents of a visually impaired child with sensory processing disorder. Have fun!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Welcome

Come September there will be a new member of the King family. Not in the usual sense (remember, John doesn't want to put any more through college). Not even a foster child (well, we can only hope). This new member comes fully prepared for adulthood; all we have to do is house and feed her. Her name is Rachel and she's a 2010 high school graduate from Virginia who will be attending the Global Awakening school and just needed a place to call home while she does so.

How, you ask, does a non-people person feel about this? Actually, I enjoy seeing our family grow in this way. We have gotten to know some wonderful people through the years, just by making the family decision that we don't need as much personal space as most Americans. God has blessed us, why shouldn't we bless others?

And ultimately, it's my grandfather's fault. "PopPop Bauman" performed our wedding ceremony. I am honored to be part of a long line of family members who can make that claim. Unfortunately, I was also the last as his health was declining even at our wedding and my brother had to help him up the steps of the sanctuary. I am so grateful that God allowed my grandfather to marry us as he is a man whose life I highly admire. By his actions, he taught me a lot about welcoming others and sharing what you have. But that's not why it's his fault. His share of the blame comes from the prayer he prayed at our wedding: "Make of this new home a place where the Spirit of Jesus will love to dwell. May the home they are forming become a pillar in the church, a sign of Your grace and glory in the community and a blessing to every child and guest who enters its portals." Take out the archaic language and I think that means he was commissioning us to have an open home. I always thought of him as a prophet. Now I know.

First there were the foster babies. Yes, even in the beginning I needed my baby fix on a regular basis and even before we had the six who stayed there were:
Courtney - a beautiful baby girl who I predicted would grow up to be tall and slender
Andrew - I often wonder about Andrew as he has Down Syndrome, it was amazing to us that God would give us a boy with this name as we had already decided we wanted to name our first boy Andrew
Tabitha Pagie - we both became very attached to this smiler
Johnnie - had his days and nights very mixed up and had the appearance of a very old man
Kelly - a delightful baby who rarely cried
Carlos - part Honduran and part Brazilian, Carlos was a beautiful but big baby
Taneesha - born premature and exposed to cocaine she weighed only 5 pounds
Shanice - another night owl who wanted us to enjoy the nightlife with her
Marcus and Tymir - not twins but stayed with us at the same time - one white and one black
Kevin - we actually met Kevin's adoptive family and John was able to hand him to his forever mother
Avis - another would-be keeper that we were both very attached to
Richard - a smiler and a talker
Anthony - a cute face and a ton of hair
Gabriel - came to us at the beginning of December, if I told you I named him I bet you could guess what the sermon was about that week
Justin - came "justin" time for Christmas
Bianca - a girl with a big appetite
Nancy - came to us without a name and I named her in honor of a favorite figure skater
Angel - one of our healthier babies
Matthew - really struggling with the disappointment of infertility at this point it was very difficult to give up Matthew, he touched both of our lives in a special way
April - another who came without a name but since she came in the month of April...
Olivia - once again named by me, the social worker handed her off at The Olive Garden Restaurant
Samantha - a little older than most of our babies, she was already able to hold her own head and sit with assistance
Crystal - BIG eyes!
Cheyenne - BIG cheeks!
Malachi - a sibling to Marcus who stayed with us earlier, I chose an "M" name to match his brother's
Brianna - I think she was the oldest child to stay with us
Dollie - named by me because she was so tiny
And in case you weren't keeping track, that's 28 little peanuts that came into our home while they were awaiting adoption. But then I got pregnant and was too tired to be waking up all hours of the night with little ones, many of whom were preemies born with the effects of drugs.

About 6 years later we decided to open our home as a shepherding home with the local crisis pregnancy center. Through this program, a single pregnant mother would live with us until the birth of her baby and then for up to 4 months following the delivery. It was our job to not only give her a home but to demonstrate healthy family life and to teach her independent living skills. We were already slightly familiar with this program as I had been the birthing coach for a teen mother who went through the program and was living in a different shepherding home. So, one after the other we welcomed "Emily" and "Michelle". Emily gave birth to a little girl and Michelle had a premature little boy and I once again had the joy of helping a young mother welcome her little one into the world. These situations each came with their own challenges but I am thankful for the opportunities of each.

Then we moved to Mechanicsburg. Not finding a similar program in this area, and also not being entirely comfortable bringing teen mothers into our home when we also had junior high aged sons, shepherding has not been an option here. No problem. John came as the young adult pastor and young adults often need a place to live. In the 7 years we've been here we've had 5 different young adults live in our home for a period of several weeks to several months. Each has a special place in our hearts and in our family. Now it's Rachel's turn. We hope she feels just as welcomed and becomes a part of the family just as quickly.

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