Celebrating Life's Unexpected Opportunities

Over the past year, I've been given opportunities to learn what's important in life.  That's a nice way of saying that the unexpected turned our lives upside down.   I haven't written about them, because they were such personal experiences that affected my family, and yet, I needed to write.  I struggled with using this space.  This blog began as a place for reflection and sharing about my work with young readers and writers.  I learned, though, that I have so much more to write about.  This week, Bonnie's writing, coupled with Kevin's words, nudge me to come forward with more writing about what touches me deeply.  So, maybe the readers and writers I reference in the name of my blog, reference more than just the students I see before me each and every day.  I think it also needs to include myself...because I am also a reader and writer who is continually growing through words written by others as well as putting my thoughts down for others to read.

This week, our family was given one more opportunity to learn what's most important in life.  We welcomed two young girls into our home.  Their lives have been disrupted more than once, and we hope that our home will provide a place where they can settle in.  As soon as I knew they were coming to stay with us, I reached out to my school family and other foster parents.  I am overwhelmed with the outpouring of love and support we've received.  Every day this week, I've walked to my office and classroom to find bags piled outside the doors...bedding, clothing, toys...all the things little girls need.  Women who have walked these steps before me, as foster and adoptive mothers of children who have suffered trauma, have reached out with words of advice and promises of being there for me when those rough days, that I know will happen, come along.  The school district where we live, has been nothing but supportive.  School secretaries bent over backwards to make sure the girls were in classrooms where they would be nurtured and supported.  The bus driver is keeping an eye out for them.  He called me after their first day of school to make sure they had had a good day at school and to let me know that they had found some nice kids to sit with on the bus.  My principal and teaching team have been nothing but supportive as I have to come in late or leave a little early as we all get settled into our new routines.  And my own family...our two grown children who  live at home while going to college have pitched in with not one complaint.  My husband and I are blessed indeed.

The girls are teaching us about resilience and bravery.  I fought back tears (and finally let them come the second time), after I left each girl at their new school.  They smiled at me as I said good-bye, and yet  the fear in their eyes still told me the truth.  They've never gone to the same school two years in a row and my heart breaks for that.

 I welcome new opportunities and joys that come with having young children in the house again...

  • Snuggling in bed and reading bedtime stories with a first grader who loves princess books.
  • Sitting around the dinner table playing the high/low game.
  • Leaving work by 4:00 because I have more important things to do than be at school.
  • Cuddling with puppies on the couch with a fifth grader and reading Harry Potter.
  • Watching my 20 and 22 year old children step outside of their busy worlds to lend a hand, play a game, watch a movie, or clean up a mess.  I feel as if I've been given a glimpse into the future and seeing the kind of parents they will be someday.  It makes my heart smile.

Thank you Ruth for providing this space to share celebrations.  I plan on coming back on a regular basis!  :)  Please visit Ruth's site to celebrate with others.


  1. Julie, I am so glad you chose to write today. I want to hear this story of love and triumph. Your family has so much to share. I'm sure there will be tough times. You are so brave. This community of bloggers has grown my own world so much. I have been touched by all of you, your stories and your grace.

  2. Dear Julie, what a wonderful, and scary, thing you are doing. You've moved to a new home, and now it will be the place of love and nurturing for these girls. I hope you'll share, think you know that there are others who will give you support in this community online, like you've received in your work and from family. Best wishes on this newest, exciting journey.

  3. Thank goodness for people who are willing to share their homes with kids who don't have one.

  4. You are an inspiration, my friend.

  5. Julie, congratulations on the new additions to your family. I adopted my boys when they were seven and nine, and have had considerable experience if you need anything. carwilc306@gmail.com

  6. Julie, the world is a better place and is filled with more love today because of what you have done.

  7. Julie, I have tears in my eyes after reading your post. You are doing something so hard yet so loving. I pray these children will be able to know they are safe and loved - something all children deserve. It is wonderful people are helping with the things these girls need.We adopted our children. I never was able to bring myself to be a foster parent - I don't think I could relinquish the children so bless you for having the strength I wish I had.

  8. This is a mighty celebration. Thank you for sharing this with us, your blog readers. I wish you and your grown family lots of love.

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