This was our third holiday season to spend with Erica. She has become a part of our family in every sense of the term “family”. She and the boys live with us in our home. BJ and I both have full time jobs, are active leaders in our church and a local non-profit equestrian association. Erica also maintains a part to full time job. She pays for the boys’ local in-home childcare or they stay with us in the evening or on weekends. Erica has also been able to purchase a car with saved up cash, is learning to drive and working hard to live independently. Our 15 year-old son, Tyler, plays an active role in the boys’ life and assumes the role of an uncle. The boys love helping Tyler with chores at the barn feeding and loving on the horses and pigs. Our 20 year-old daughter, Rebecca, is a full time student at Dallas Baptist University where she lives during the week and returns home on the weekends. She and Erica often refer to each other as sisters.
It has been a joy and a change at the same time to have babies/toddlers in our home again as well as another adult. Rebecca and I even had the remarkable opportunity to be in the delivery room with Erica for the birth of Kadyn. It was a special moment that I will cherish always. Additionally, we have celebrated both boys’ first birthdays and experienced major childhood milestones alongside Erica.
Just like any family, we have had our share of struggles. More often than not, the struggles stem from deep rooted trauma, a lack of trust and/or communication. We had to not only learn to trust Erica to live in our home and abide by the house rules, but she had to learn to trust us with her heart and the lives of her children. Over and over again, when mistakes are made and reverting back to “old habits” occurs, as a family we double down and love her through it. In turn, we hope that Erica sees God’s undying love for her in us and in our home.
Through this experience our entire family has felt extreme emotions from pure joy to intense hopelessness. I often found myself turning to John 17:4, “I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do.” Jesus was the true servant of God and we long to be His faithful servants too.