Things I know a little bit about:
-- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the "Mormons"
-- Parenting birth children, inherited children, young adult children, adopted children
-- Suicide among family and friends
-- Blended families
-- Foster siblings
-- The joys of sharing a room (once with six sisters)
-- Home school
-- Public school
-- Scripture study
-- Brothers and sisters as best friends
-- Teaching preschool
I am a wife.
I am the mother of nine children- four by birth, two by inheritance, and three by adoption (they are in the order I received them, not in the order of importance or the most loved).
I am a believer in Jesus Christ and in His great plan of eternal families and happiness for all of his children. I know we will be with our loved ones after this life. I know the atonement of Jesus Christ makes this possible for all of us.
I am grateful.
I am proud to be an American.
I am a birth daughter.
I am an adopted daughter.
I am the product of the home school environment.
I am the product of the public school environment.
I am a believer that no matter what life is good!
A brief history:
I moved to West Jordan, Utah, when I was eleven years old. It was my eleventh house. :) Before that I lived in California, Oregon, and Montana. Montana still feels like my second home. My growing up years were filled with learning and growth as my parents worked hard to teach us the gospel of Jesus Christ, how to work, how to be independent and reliable adults, how to love, and how to have a great time. With those important things as a base, one other tool they taught us that has been a great asset to me throughout my life is the importance of laughing through the hard times. I will be forever grateful to them for their love, example, and experience, but most importantly the fact that they never gave up- not on the family, and not on each other, and not on any of us.
My parents did not have an easy task. They raised eleven children! That's right. I have ten marvelous brothers and sisters. Those good folks of mine also managed to have foster children from the Indian Placement Program for the last few years I was home. Meaning, being the second child of this large brood, I went without a lot of the material things of life. Would I trade any one of those precious siblings for cute clothes or my own room? No way! Not then, and certainly not now!
My growing-up family is an interesting one. My mom married my father when I was eleven years old, thus the new start in Utah. Her first husband committed suicide when I was nine. My new dad adopted my mom's seven children (adding us to the three young ones he already had) soon afterwards on February 15. My heart celebrates this day every year as it comes back around. I was then and I am even more so now, ever grateful that a kind Father in Heaven saw to it that I also had an earthly father. I am better because of this good man. To my parents' great joy, a baby girl was added to their union just over a year after they were married. She has always been one of the bonding links in our family.
I got married two weeks after I turned 19 years old. I had the most gorgeous thing on the planet up to that time eleven months later- a baby girl. I was two weeks shy of twenty. Eighteen months later I had another baby girl. Almost three years later a baby boy joined our family. Two years after that, another sweet baby boy was placed in my arms. I knew I wasn't finished having children yet, but I sure had no idea what lay in store for my future.
After fifteen years of marriage, I found myself single with four children, having found it necessary to divorce my husband, something I never believed in. Still don't. It was a trying time for my little family. Visitation being the hardest to get use to for all of us.
I met Gary Ceran a year and a half after my separation and 6 days after my divorce was final, although I had followed his story in the news eight months earlier. His story was one of forgiveness and love. I watched as the story unfolded of how he forgave the drunk driver who killed his wife, teenage son, and young daughter early Christmas Eve morning 2006. I marveled at his strength and at the strength of his two remaining children. I was overjoyed when they were all released from the hospital and were able to have a belayed Christmas celebration together. I knew that if Gary could forgive the man who took so much, I could also forgive my soon-to-be ex-husband.
I married Gary eight months later in the Mt. Timpanogus Temple. I married him because of his unconditional love for me and my children and because he saw each person for who they could become. Together we had six living children; but we still knew our family was not complete. We wanted that 'link' that my parents had. Three months after we were married, I was in the Mount Timpanogus LDS Temple when I had a strong impression there was a child elsewhere waiting to join our family. Adoption was a new idea for Gary, but not to me for obvious reasons.
It wasn't until two years after this incident that we had a six week free subscription to the Deseret News and read an article about a foundation called Save a Child, a group that brought children over from Ukraine to be hosted for "an American experience." I couldn't get the story out of my head. I knew it was something we were to be a part of in some way. Still, I would have never guessed!
We hosted THREE children, a sibling group from this far away part of the world, in the fall of 2010 for 2 1/2 weeks. On the last full day they were here, I knew they were ours. I was the last in the family to have this confirmation from the Holy Spirit. I found out later the whole rest of the family was fasting and praying for me to know.
For the next few months we focused on fundraising and paperwork, so we could bring the last of our babies home for good. After two trips and six weeks in Ukraine, we came home on May 31, 2011. It was a wonderful celebration! Those three dear children were sealed to us six months later on November 5 in the Salt Lake LDS Temple. They may now be ours for this life and for all eternity.