Yesterday my husband and I spent 12 hours delivering our home-grown, processed frozen turkeys to customers in the metro area 85 miles from our farm.  It was a fun day away from our kids, giving us lots of uninterrupted ‘couple time’ as we navigated the traffic to our drop-off locations.  We had a treat at the end of the day, meeting another couple who are our very dear friends, for dinner out.

During that double-date, we couples caught up with each other’s busy lives, reminisced about our early years, and laughed uproariously at the goings on in our families.  My hubby and I excitedly told our friends about our upcoming anniversary trip.  We are headed to a beachfront hotel on the Gulf of Mexico the week before Christmas – for the whole week, just the two of us!  It will be our first real vacation in more than 15 years!

Our friends, whose children are mostly grown, try to vacation annually.  “Why have you waited so long for a trip?”, they asked.  Well, for a number of reasons, primarily two.  First, until now the behaviors of 3 of our adopted children would not have allowed us to be gone from them for more than 24 hours as they require constant supervision.  Second, we didn’t have a babysitting situation for that very reason!

The neediest adoptive kids, who seem to need a forever family more than anyone, are often the ones with the most out-of-control behaviors.  Though parents badly need a break from challenging adopted kids, they can’t really take a break because no one is capable, or willing, to parent these kids in their absence.  Parents worry that when they are gone and others are in-charge, especially for an extended period of time, chaos can break out.  If the cops should need to be called while they are away vacationing…!

Further, what sane adults want to deal with:

  1.  multiple wet beds night after night
  2. constant supervision of children with a tendency toward sexualized behavior
  3. restrictions and rules for kids with food addictions who hide snacks which attract vermin in every corner of the house
  4. guidance and discipline for theft of money and other important items
  5. soliciting respect for authority from incorrigible teens
  6. solving sibling disputes regarding stealing, lying, and complete, unadulterated manipulation 
  7. rebellion that includes borderline crimnal activity and running away?

No sane person I know!  Only parents of the little offenders, who are forced by law to do so!

Well, finally, after 9 long years of unconditional love teamed with very consistent and extremely strict parenting, our adopted kids have become everyday, normal, good kidsThank you Jesus!  They: 

  • are fairly trustworthy
  • generally considerate of others
  • obey house rules with few infractions
  • help maintain their personal property, our home, and farm with few reminders
  • do their school work diligently
  • treat others with respect and love
  • respect their bodies and possessions, as well as those of the other family members. 

Wow!  We not only need a vacation, perhaps we might even deserve one!

Not that we could possibly trust anyone outside our family to care for 5 kids aged 7 to 15 years old for a week, and run a farm!  My one grown daughter will be home for college so she can team with my high school senior daughter to cook 3 square meals a day, keep up with laundry, home school younger siblings, and maintain reasonable order in my absence.  My one grown son who lives and works on our farm, can manage the livestock, fix broken vehicles as well as most mechanical devices, solve unexpected problems, and Heaven help him, resolve any disasters that may occur in my husband’s absence.  The good Lord will hopefully protect our children, livestock, and property from storms and associated problems, as He surely knows we need a break!

So, we are off in a few weeks for the ultimate ‘couple time’.  It may be the only chance we ever get, so we’re praying for good weather and uneventful travel.  The added bonus is that when we told all the kids of our trip, they were actually excited for us, and felt confident all would go well in our absence.  Apparently, the unending, often daunting work of raising such a brood has all been worth it, as our kids seem to understand that happily married parents, who enjoy each other’s company and a break from their kids now and then, are the best parents! 

We hope to relax, have fun, stay out late, sleep in, go deep sea fishing, just ‘be’ on the beach, read by the pool, and remember why we got married in the first place!  Personally I’ll look forwad to eating when and what I want, without having to plan it, shop for it, cook it, serve it, and do the dishes!  We’ll both come back refreshed and ready to parent for another decade or two.  Now, if I can just crash diet enough to fit into that swim suit…