Family comes in many forms. Our version of family took quite a turn in December of 2013. Tiffani and I, Jonathan, had four children at the time, Kelton, Marilyn, Parker, and Kenyon. We got a call on December 3, 2013 that our four nieces and nephews, Julia, Cody, Kaitlyn, and Devan, needed a safe place to stay for a while. We drove to Redding with a U-Haul and no plans on how to pull it off. We picked them up two days later and brought them home with not much more than the clothes on their back and no idea of how we were going to take care of eight children.
Lucky for us, God had already been in the works and started working things out for us. By the time we got home with the kids, we had an incredible outpouring of support from family and friends with offers of food, clothing, bunk beds, and other resources to ease the transition to being a "mega family."
A few months later we took guardianship of our newest nephew, Gabriel Adam, after he was born at 27 weeks. He spent a while in the hospital, but we took him home in August of 2014.
Our last addition came in December of 2014, when Tiffani gave birth to our youngest, Adalyn Rose. Our family was officially ginormous.
The transition from four, to eight, to ten children in one year was complete.
The past nearly four years have been incredible, although not easy. There are days when we feel like failures; when we wonder why God entrusted these children to us. But there are also days when His glory shines through these little lives in ways that we could never have imagined.
Although we did not originally see these five children living with us permanently, a couple of them asked to write "Swain" on their homework papers, and God began to lead us to a future where they were ours forever. We made the decision after much prayer that we would seek legal adoption of the five children and make them officially ours. We started considering the process and talking to people about adoption. We found ourselves completely blessed when a local family law attorney agreed to take our case completely pro-bono.
However, there are still significant expenses related to a private adoption. The immediate need is the fee for the investigation by the state social worker to give us the green light, (I get it, they don't want to hand over children to just anyone.) In the future, there will be other financial needs for filing fees, newspaper legal notices, and other incidentals that come along.
The number one thing anyone can do for us right now is to pray. Pray for the children to continue to grow and mature. Pray for patience and grace. Especially pray for Tiffani as she raises, and homeschools, our ten beautiful blessings.
We look forward to our future as a family and pray that these ten children have a tremendous impact on the world around them.
If you feel led, please donate toward our adoption expenses and help these kiddos to feel the love and security of a stable and permanent future.
"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope."