I’ve been closely following the unique journey of Alina and her family over the past six-or-so months. Alina did some work here on A Slob Comes Clean for a while. (The cute-as-can-be envelope graphic for our reader stories was designed by her.) She’s a mama who is passionate about family and has recently started working toward adding to their family through international adoption.
As part of her fundraising efforts, she recently wrote an e-book focused completely on laundry. Since laundry strategies is a perfect fit for what I do around here, I asked Alina to share a little about her motivation for creating Battle of the Laundry Pile.
Some people said we were crazy. Crazy to have 4 children. Crazy to talk about adopting 4 more. And it was crazy, but crazy in the most wonderful kind of way!
Last fall we were introduced to the world of Orphan Hosting. We volunteered to open our home and bring 4 siblings from a European orphanage to Texas for Christmas. Hosting is not the same as an adoption program, it’s more of a cultural experience. Not all hosted children are available for adoption and this gives them a chance to see a different part of the world, learn some English, and see what it’s like to live in a family instead of in an institution. We hosted with the understanding that our host children were most likely available for adoption.
Children age out of the orphanage when they turn 16. They aren’t equipped to live as an adult yet. The boys have an 80% chance of living a life of crime and being on the streets and the girls have a 60% chance of being lured into human trafficking. BUT, for children who have been hosted, their chances of either of those things happening drops to below 20%! Pouring into a child for 5 weeks really can make a huge difference in their lives!
I wasn’t prepared for what a huge difference just 5 weeks would make . . . for them or for us.
I can’t say that the 5 weeks of having 7 children in my home went smoothly. Most people have a less eventful hosting season, but for us, combining two families overnight was more like an infamous camping trip where it rains all week and everyone throws up and the whole week is really, really hard but it becomes one of those bonding experiences that you laugh about and remember fondly for the rest of your life.
Just to give you a feel of what life was like in our home, here’s how old everyone was: 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6 and 2. Sounds busy, right? It was! My husband and I were definitely outnumbered!
Everything that could go wrong, did.
Our friend died.
When we were leaving to go to his funeral, the children came running into the house with the news that our alpaca had fallen and was dying. He died later that night.
Then a tornado hit our little town. It was bad. People died. We watched a nearby electrical line catch on fire. The idea of trying to tell 3 children who don’t speak English and are afraid of the dark, “Don’t be scared, but we need you to climb into the bathtub with us and put this mattress on your head” didn’t sound feasible. We evacuated and ended up having a really fun night at a friend’s house instead. That was definitely the right decision! (We came home that night to no electricity, but our home was miraculously untouched!)
The youngest little girl broke out in chicken pox a few days before she was supposed to come and couldn’t travel. But we realized that the chicken pox had come anyway when, the day after the tornado, the older sister broke out in chicken pox!
And of course, it wasn’t long after that when all 4 of my biological children broke out with chicken pox.
See what I mean? It was a crazy, busy time, but now when we Skype with our host children they talk about these memories and we laugh together. Those 5 weeks weren’t just about surviving the craziness, they were about bonding and connecting.
Those 5 weeks were filled with cuddles, hugs and ticklefights. (“Hey Everybody! GET PAPA!!!!”)
Those 5 weeks were filled with so much fun and games.
Those 5 weeks were spent building the foundation of what we hope will be a life-long relationship and learning to love each other, even though we are from completely different worlds.
And if I’m going to be honest, those 5 weeks were also filled with laundry. A lot, a lot of laundry.
At one point, two women from a nearby church volunteered to come bail me out. They came and spent a few hours just helping me catch up on laundry. I knew if I am going to adopt 4 more children, I would have to learn a better way to manage.
How A Mom With Too Much Laundry Learns To Manage
If you want to get good at something you need to learn from people who already know what they’re doing. I interviewed Moms of large families to find out how they keep up with the continually…. never ending… always there…. never finished…. laundry. What I learned was that there is no one-size-fits all trick, but there are some simple principles which can help any family with their laundry situation. You don’t have to be drowning in laundry.
I wrote it all down and put it into my new ebook: Battle of the Laundry Pile: How to Win Without Making The Kids Go N*ked. In this ebook you’ll find tours of other moms’ laundry systems, a checklist to help develop a laundry system that will actually work for your family and lots of helpful tools for laundry inspiration and encouragement! I even include coupons for some really neat Mom-CEO laundry companies. (Have you tried Soap Nuts yet?).
Normally this ebook is $14.95 but for the next week I am doing something special. It is so important for host children to be able to spend time in a family while they wait for the adoption process! I am giving Battle Of The Laundry Pile away as a gift to ANYONE who donates to our host children’s fund! You can click here to find out more.
We are planning that the children will be able to return to our home this summer and hoping that this summer will be less eventful than this Christmas was. (No more contagious diseases, please!) But with 8 children under the age of 11, there is bound to be adventure! If you’d like to follow our hosting adventures, we have a special Facebook Group. Please join us by clicking here. There, you’ll get to read all our adventures in real-time, as they happen! It’s so much fun!
(And if you think you might be interested in hosting, please email me at [email protected] and I’ll tell you more!)