In honor of Mothers Day, I want to introduce you to a very inspiring Mother. 8× References for Proverbs 31:26
Janelle is a friend from church and I have enjoyed getting to know her through Facebook. I remember the first time I saw her. It was at our Women’s Bible Study which meets on Thursday mornings. She was pulling a wagon that held her three darling daughters, down the halls of our church. I was simply in awe of her. While 2 of my children are now adults and the baby will be 17 this coming Wednesday, I can still remember how challenging it was to get a toddler and a baby out the door for anything. So I can barely imagine what a challenge it would be to have 3 the same age. But she did it, and now that her babies are going to be 4, she doesn’t need the wagon any more. Janelle truly is a wonderful example of the Proverbs 31 woman. Although she readily admits that she is not perfect, she does not give up. And isn’t that what we admire most about Mothers? They continue to care for their children, no matter how tired they may be, and no matter the cost… So when I asked her if she would consider allowing me to write an article about her, I assumed it would be about the challenges of raising multiples. What I learned though, is that her family is even more special than I originally thought. Janelle is also an advocate of adoption. She shared with me a glimpse of her daily life, and in the process, shed light on the need of our country, and especially Christians, to open our homes and our hearts to the family God desires to bless us with. Here is her story:
Janelle, is a wife, mother of five, MOPS coordinator, Business owner, and Educator. She and her husband met at a Christian concert. “We were friends, then when he was ready, we prayed together and he accepted Christ. We tried CCHD and we’ve been there since ‘99 and were married in 2002 by Pastor Dennis. My parents were Christians. They married young. But it was Grandma who prayed and took me to church. When I was 5, my Sunday school teacher led me in the Sinners Prayer. Since then, God has always had a strong tug on my heart. In Junior High I asked my Mom if I could get baptized. Grandma heard about it and set it up with her church. I knew God would always be there for me.”
“I went to college and became a Junior High school math teacher, and my husband became a fireman. After establishing our careers and our home, we began to try to have kids. But we were not blessed in that area. For 4 years, we dealt with infertility. We felt led to adopt. It was scary, but we felt the Lord calling us and knew we had to be obedient. Originally we wanted to adopt later in life, but God was leading us to try adoption then. At the same time, we considered IVF. But the same day we were scheduled for the procedure, we got a call about a little girl. So, we put the treatments on hold to do the adoption. We found out about Jessica who was 20 months old. She was living with us very soon after we were matched. I took time off work so we could bond, and from the first time I met her, she called me Mommy and she was very cuddly. We knew it was meant to be. God had planned for her to be our daughter, and He was the one who put her in our life. After finalizing the adoption, we tried IVF because we wanted a sibling for her. We got pregnant right away with Caleb. Everything was smooth with our first pregnancy. They said we had 5 good embryos left and we chose to freeze them. When Caleb was 18 months old, we tried again. We were told that 3 of the embryos did not survive, so we tried two of them. We found out the IVF was successful and I was pregnant. At one point, I began bleeding and had to go to the Emergency Room. They told me there were actually 3 babies. The girls were born at 33 weeks. So in a very short time, we became a family with 5 kids.”
I asked Janelle if she and her husband had always wanted to have a large family, she answered, “We had imagined having a couple kids, but our hearts are so much fuller now than if we had just had two. God has blessed us with them. I definitely feel that our families are our biggest ministries. It is a huge a responsibility to raise them in the Lord. We strive for that. We spend time praying with them, talking about God, and going to church so they can learn. It is vital to our walk, I am thankful to our church and the children’s ministry. I think living it out, showing them how to love your husband, and how to put each other first, and that Mom and Dad love each other and love God is so important. We are not perfect, but we know God is faithful, even when we are not. God is perfect, we are not.”
Tell me about the challenges of raising multiples and how you face those challenges.
“All the little things, especially when they were little, are big things. It was a great struggle when my son was 3 and the girls were one.8× “References for Proverbs 31:26
“Giving everyone attention, and going out to the store is much more difficult. It was hard, I was in a fog. After having triplets, I felt like I didn’t even want to get off the couch. Just opening the trunk of the car was too hard. I was at the point where I didn’t even want to go anywhere. But I sought counsel, and took care of myself by taking vitamins and exercising, and was able to overcome it. Being at church and worshiping God helped. “
What does an average day in your house look like? “We have a routine. I just have to depend on God every minute of every day.”
People often are surprised by a family with multiples or adopted children and although they want to talk with you, they don’t know what to say, please give us a few suggestions for thoughtful conversation starters. “Compliments are a great way to begin a conversation. And please keep in mind, that I am distracted. I am not being rude; I just have to keep an eye on 5 kids all at once. I have a lot of things to do, I can’t make eye contact, I just don’t want to lose anyone…. Or you could offer to help. Say something like, “I’ve noticed you need help, can I open the door for you?”
I imagine that you have to be very organized in order to keep your household and business running smoothly, please tell me about how you do it.
“My husband is organized. He has our cabinets organized like you wouldn’t believe. He is amazing, I couldn’t ask for a better husband, he cooks, cleans, and helps takes care of the kids.”
What do you do when you are discouraged or overwhelmed? “I pray. Sometimes, in the morning when my husband is away with his job, and I have to get everyone ready and I get overwhelmed even before I get out of bed, I pray and ask God to change my heart and I ask for help. My parents live about 10 minutes away so I can call them for help sometimes. They are always there for me. My husband works 72 hours at a time. Occasionally I also get help from “Mothers of Multiples.” There is a set of twins who sometimes comes to help. It helps to be able to talk to other moms of multiples. On Facebook, there is a good community and that helps me as well. I would never have learned about the “Choo Choo” wagon (a wagon she used to carry her triplets when they were little) unless I had been a part of that community. “
Do you have a favorite quote or scripture that helps you or inspires you? “Yes! Romans 8:28 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
When I asked Janelle if there was a topic she wanted to talk about, she told me, “Adoption. More people should do it. It’s such a blessing and more people would be blessed if they did it. There needs to be education about it. Please tell your kids about adoption. A lot of times what we hear is about adopting pets, not children…People, (especially Jessica’s peers) give her a strong reaction when they find out she was adopted, and she doesn’t want to feel different. Adopting through Foster Care is not hard. If you are interested, you can go to: http://adoptuskids.org. When we were looking into adoption, we went there, filled out an adoption questionnaire, and were sent a package of adoption agencies in our area, and told how to qualify. We were walked through the entire process. It is completely free. You may have to do some simple things around your house like checking your windows, or making sure your home is safe, but everything is free. You are asked what risk you would be willing to take of them going back to their parents and a child is placed accordingly. It’s worth it. After adoption there is a program called, Adoption Assistance Program, and there are tax credits. There is also free medical until your child is 18, and even free lunch at school. The government is willing and desiring to help.
She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue
8× References for Proverbs 31:26
She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: "Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all." Proverbs 31
I learned so much about adoption from Janelle, as well as how to approach and befriend someone with multiples. I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I did while writing it. If you are interested in adopting, please consider adopting through Foster Care. And please do your best to educate your children and others on adoption. If you are a mother of pre-school age children and would like to know more about MOPS, simply click on the link below. Happy Mothers’ Day!
For more information on MOPS: https://www.mops.org