Still More Questions than Answers


I mentioned before that Scott and I have been spending a great deal of thought, prayer, and discussion lately on a few big family decisions.

1.  How will we educate our son next year?

I can't believe it, but my oldest will be ready to start kindergarten next year.  Since he was only months old, I've been hounded with questions from friends, family, and acquaintances about where we will send him to school.  My initial response was, "HELLO!!  We're working on sleeping through the night here... I have NO IDEA where he will go to school!"  There was lots of assumption that since I taught at a private elementary school we would either send him to private school or I'd home school.   Now that we have sleeping through the night down pat, and he is less than a year away from starting school, it seems like a much more appropriate question to ponder. 

Well, three children in 4 years + a single income family = no private school.

We're trying to find a way to save so that we could send them to private middle school.

This leaves us with the choice between home schooling and public school.  We've visited several tutorials in our area.  I am convinced that if we home school, we will use a tutorial.  The tutorials, in my opinion, take a lot of the negatives about home schooling away.  Two days a week he would go to the tutorial for a chapel, instruction in reading, spelling, history, and science.  He'd also get a lunch and recess time.  He'd get to be evaluated by someone other than myself.  He'd learn to listen and respect an authority figure besides his parents.  He'd learn to work with other children.   He would get socialization.  The tutorials in our area all use a classical approach to education.  Scott and I both like this.  If we went with this option, our thinking is we'd home school them through fifth grade.  They'd hopefully, perhaps attend a Christian middle school and then they would attend our local public school for high school. 

Today we visited our local elementary school.  I thought that our answer would be so clear after we visited the public school.  Prior to this year, I was completely against public school.  I worried about the negative influence the world would have on our son.  I worried about him losing his innocence.   I heard a speaker this fall talk about Grace Based Parenting and one thing he mentioned was that we as Christians do not need to fear the world.  We need to fear God alone.  He reminded me that as Christians we have the Holy Spirit living inside us, He strengthens and equips us for what we'll face in the world.  He also said that we should not base our decisions on fear.  This last point really struck me, b/c I knew that my reasons against public school were purely based on fear.  I returned from the session with a much more open mind. 

We revisited the tutorial that we would use earlier this week so that we could get an accurate comparison of the two educational options.  I wanted to see where each one was academically at the same point in the year.  It was not a huge surprise to me to see that the tutorial was ahead in reading and writing over the public school.  There were 6 kids in the tutorial class and 20 in the public school class.  

The public school classrooms were huge.  There was lots of space for them to do a variety of activities.  The children seemed able to listen and participate in the lesson, even though there were more of them.   I also appreciate that public school provides them with a well rounded education by giving them instruction in music, art, P.E., computer and media.  While some of these things I could do myself at home, others I lack the skill for.  I also like the idea of being involved in our community, of being a light in the world.  If we were to send our children to school there, I would volunteer in the classroom and I'd probably help on the PTO.  I would be an involved mom, hopefully forging friendships with other moms and getting to know the kids at the school.  I also really like school.  I like the programs the kids do, the parties, and the ice cream socials.  I know that there is so much more to education than just the books and I want to find a way to educate and appropriately socialize my child. 

I don't want to hide them away from society, not do I want to expose my young children to things they have no business learning about at the age of 5.  It is a tough balancing act. 

I find myself able to get excited about either option.  I'm almost 50/50 in my opinion, with a slight favor towards home schooling.  Thankfully, we still have time to make our decision.  Not oodles, but enough.  I feel like we have been diligent in researching our options, and now I want to be diligent in seeking the Lord's wisdom in prayer.  I know He will guide us to the path that is our right for our family. 

I do however, often wish for a neon sign that reads, "Crystal... DO THIS...." 

As if this wasn't enough for my busy Mommy brain to ponder, Scott and I are also trying to decide if we want 3 or 4 children. 

This would be question number two.

2.  Do we want to stop with the three we have or "go for a fourth"? 

When I was pregnant with my third, we talked about the fact that this could be our last kid.  We "went into" it with the mind sight of "preparing that this could be our last baby."   I was totally fine with this, though not ready to commit that I was done.  At the hospital after she was born, we were both on such a high, we were already talking about our fourth.  And she has by far been the easiest of my three, so for a few months afterwards, we were still talking about a fourth. 

But, life with three is busy.  We love it and we adore each of the children immensely.  Both of us are in agreement that we are completely content and thankful for the three children God has blessed us with.  It is truly a privilege to be their parents.  We love our family as is. 

Yet, if I was to find out I was pregnant tomorrow, I would also be thrilled.  So, in a way, I feel completely undecided.  I love the family the way it is now and I don't think I'd look back years later pining for a fourth.  But, if I did have a fourth, I would also be thrilled to pieces.

I don't want to make the decision based on "the baby bug."  No matter how many kids I have, at some point the youngest will grow up and when I see them grow up and I long for those days when they are little, I can't just go and have another baby b/c I love babies.... we could end up with 15 + kids that way, and that is not something I feel called to do.   

Scott and I want to be intentional in our parenting.  We want to make sure that we can give each of our kids the loving instruction, discipline, attention, quality time, that we want to give them.  Can we do as good of a job with 4 as we can with 3?  Will all of the children suffer if we have a fourth?  These are the questions we wrestle with. 

I know from experience that I parent my third child differently than I did my first.  Partly, b/c I have learned from experience, partly because each child is different, partly b/c with two others also vying for my time and attention, I just do things differently than I did with only one. 

I used to be concerned about having an odd number of kids and having a middle child.  But with a boy and then two girls, I feel like the middle child factor is somewhat removed.  Right now at least, we have the "big kids" and "the girls"  our middle daughter fits into both categories.  My baby adores her big brother, asking for him all the time.  They are close together in age and are able to play well together.  If we had a fourth, would the new baby become the "odd man out"?  Again, these are the things we wrestle with. 

One more thing to through into the equation.... wow this is getting wordy... anyone still reading?  Anyone care this much about the questions weighing on our hearts these days? 

Since before we were married, Scott and I have both mentioned that we'd be willing to adopt.  So, if we did want a fourth child, would we want to adopt the child?  

Last month we went to Bethany Christian Services to learn more about adoption.  It felt kind of strange going in b/c we didn't even know if we wanted a fourth child.  Were we "putting the cart before the horse" so to speak?  

After sitting through a 3 hour information session on international adoption and then speaking with the adoption counselor afterwards, Scott and I left convinced that adoption is something we would love to do.   There are children in our world that are dying because they are unable to get the medical help and the nutrition that they need to survive.  There are children in our world that spend their childhood in a crib with no physical contact, no loving arms to hold them when they are scared, no one to teach them to talk them.  No one to teach them about Christ, to tell them that God loves them so much He sent His only son to take the consequence for his sin...No one...  These kids need us, and both of us are willing to open our hearts and our home to one such child. 

But, first we must decide if we want a fourth child.  We still aren't there yet.    We have decided though that IF we did want a fourth child, we would want to adopt this child.  We've even gone as far as to talk about which countries we'd want to adopt him/her from.

I don't know how to know that I know.  Again, that neon side would be nice. 

How do I know if the fact that I don't know is in fact the sign that, no we don't want more b/c if we did we wouldn't still just be talking about it?  Or how do I know if the fact that we are willing to move forward is the sign that yes, we should and we just need to take that step of faith and go out there and begin the process? 

I don't know. 

Like I said, we have more questions than answers these days.

And in days like these, I am so thankful for a God who knows.  He knew me from the foundation of the world and He has a plan for my life.  He knew the number of hairs that would be on my head and He knows the number of children that will call my Mommy.  He knows where each of my kids will go to school.  And, He will direct our path. 

I am thankful for His promise in James 1:5 which reads, "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him."

We have researched our options, we've been diligently seeking out information to help us make informed decisions.  We will now be heeding the advice of Proverbs 3:5-6 which tells us, "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;  in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight."

I will now pray and wait on the Lord.  I will not worry about tomorrow.  He's got in under control.  I don't have to decide today, so I won't.  I will trust that when the time comes to make these big decisions, He will grant us the wisdom to make them.    I am so thankful that we in fact have choices to make.   I will not complain about how hard it is to decide, b/c the fact that we have the opportunity to make choices in these matters, is truly a luxury.  

And that, dear readers, is what I am thinking about this weekend.   My longest weekend thought to date, I believe.  :-)  How about you?  What is on your heart and mind this weekend?


  1. Thank you for sharing the decisions and struggles that are on your heart right now. Both of those are very difficult decisions. I will be praying for you as you seek God's will in both of these areas. It is comforting to know that He knows.

  2. I am so pleased that you are considering adoption! There are so many children who need parents. I know if we decide to have another it is an option that we would seriously consider.

  3. You sure do have some big decisions to make! We held our oldest back this year - he'll start 5K a year later since his birthday made him one of the very youngest. I struggled a LOT last summer with knowing I was doing the right thing, but in the end am VERY glad we chose to do it. You'll make the right decision, but will agonize over it until you do. I'll be praying that you'll find your neon sign! :)

  4. Sometimes God takes us where we least expect it, to grow us and shape us. In my experience (including the schooling question), when we say "never" He shows us that the decision is not ours, but HIS.:)

  5. Not to add to your confusion, but have you considered domestic adoption, particularly through the foster care system? There are soo many kiddos right in our own neighborhoods who are being neglected and abused (there are thousands of domestic children waiting for forever homes). Many of them are available for adoption. It's also extremely cost-effective--as in free! Generally children adopted through the foster care system have adoptions paid for by the state, and often the families are given a monthly stipend through their 18th birthday, even after the adoption. Yes there are older kids there, but there are hundreds of babies and children under 2 if that is what you are looking for. You might want to ask Bethany if they are licensed for foster care adoptions--you can still go through a private agency who deal with the CYS organizations for you. Check out to check some of the kids.

  6. Wow, you have a lot going on! It's good that you & Scott can sit down and discuss these issues.
    We will send Pebbles to a public school for sure. With her being the only child we feel she needs all the socializing she can get and to realize everyone is not like her and may not share the same beliefs as her. I feel it make them more prepared for the world/ work environments. But, that's just my little opinion. :)
    I do not want to offend anyone who homeschools here...I truly understand why parents homeschool and I feel it up to each indivdual.
    Best of luck to ya!

  7. Yes, alot of questions - but I am so thankful that you have placed it all at the feet of our loving God and Savior, who knows the right answers. He will let you know at the right time. We always continue to lift you up in our prayers also.

  8. Hey Sis,
    I am with you on Adoption. Jessie and I have also always talked about adoption, and now that she is still extremely sick with the third pregnancy we feel that is the best route to take. There are so many children out there that need our love. Our children are our most important legacy we leave behind. How we care for them, and teach them and the impact they will have and pass on to their families.
    Amen sister!

  9. On number 1... I have no idea. No contributing thoughts or anything. :)

    On number 2... I have been thinking about the same thing. I only have one right now, which I thought would be enough, but I don't quite feel fulfilled yet. I don't really feel like a family. My daughter is 17 months old, and I almost wish I would've gotten pregnant sooner, because I decided I DO want a second, and I want them very close together. I could come up with 10 million reasons NOT to have another child, EVER, not just right now.... but I still want a second child. I know that if I go purely by reason, I will NEVER have another child. It's like those people who wait until they can "afford" to have kids. You can never "afford" to have kids! But God ALWAYS provides. Always. So my husband and I decided to jump. When one of us gets baby fever, we go for it. We're acting on my hormones here! This is a serious gamble. But if it is God's will that we have another, we will not just have another, but we will love that child just as much as the first, and we will raise him/her up to be a godly person, a light in a dark world. We will disappoint God and we will please Him, probably simultaneously. But it is all in His hands, and He will guide us and give us wisdom to help us make difficult decisions!

    Although we don't feel called to adopt..... yet.

  10. those are some big questions. i especially appreciated your thoughts on the 2nd. i'll be praying for you guys as you consider #4. such big decisions!


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