The State of the Family Address

Disclaimer: Before I dive into the topic at hand, there is a LOT I have to catch up on. Today's post is not that. Catch-up post is coming soon!

A couple of days ago I posted a picture on my Instagram "oversharing" that after months, nay years, of conversation, Chuck and I had finally reached a decision on the current state (and future) of our family. However, my lack of pronouncement about what that decision actually was led to quite a few people scratching their heads and privately messaging me along the lines of, "Umm...care to elaborate?" To all the people I left utterly confused, my apologies. I was reluctant to come right out and say it because up until now it feels like we've gone back and forth and changed our mind no less than a hundred times.

However, I feel okay sharing here and now because this time feels different. Without getting into some heavy theological tangent, this past year has been a big one for my faith. I've been praying more and listening more. And not too long ago, I prayed and God listened. I prayed for clarity and my prayer was answered. I texted Chuck the next morning and he was on the complete same page.

You see, for the last couple years we've been really torn about adding more children to our family. Once we had Crosby, we declared We're Done Having Kids. And we meant it. I gave away all of our baby clothes to some fellow boy Mamas and made mental pro and con lists about the perks of keeping our family limited to two miniature Stuckerts. We didn't feel like our financial footing was solid enough to bring another baby into the family. We didn't want to go through another round of pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding. And quite frankly, we were scared to sacrifice our mental sanity because the first two years after Crosby was born were a complete shit show. 

We had a million reasons why it made sense to remain a family of four. And yet, there was this tugging at my heartstrings. My head made peace with the current makeup of our family, but my heart stubbornly refused to get on board. Not to mention, the sheer volume of testosterone in our house was making me desperately yearn for a baby girl. 

So, for the last year or so we've gone back and forth- do we follow our heads or follow our hearts? One day we would be responsible grown-ups and decide we were content with being a two-child family. And then the next day, I'd be overcome by a vision of Christmases down the road where three or more Stuckerts came home to spend the holidays together- and suddenly we were planning to try for another baby. This was our pattern for months.

Until I prayed, and God answered. 

Before I ever gave birth. Before I got married. Before I even met Chuck, I wanted to pursue international adoption. At the height of our financial despair it seemed completely out of reach and unrealistic for us. But we've been incredibly diligent in the last year and have made some serious momentum with our Debt Snowball. We feel like a debt-free life could actually be within reach for us within the next 3-5 years. And we really don't want to put that on hold and take on the additional expenses that a third child would entail. 

So, what's the plan?

Finally, the part where I tell you our life's plan! I feel silly even posting this because putting a plan in print is a foolproof way to make sure it never comes to fruition. However, Chuck and I have decided that while we don't think our family is "complete" we feel very confident that we're done with the baby-making stage. 

What does this look like? It means that for the next 3-5 years we'll continue to be serious about becoming debt-free and getting rid of all my outstanding student loans for good. Once we're debt-free, we can start applying all that freed up income toward saving for adoption expenses. We're well aware of how costly international adoption can be. Thankfully, my employer is one of the best in the nation in terms of supporting working families and they offer a sizable adoption reimbursement program. It could potentially cut our expenses in half! 

Obviously, we don't know who our future children will be, but we have a good idea of what area of the world they'll be born into. And we also still haven't given up hope of a Girl Stuckert joining the family.

So, there you have it- the Stuckert Family Plan. We know what they say about, "If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans," but we feel a deep and abiding peace about this path and will be working our tails off to make it happen!

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