Adoption Story, Parenting

The first 100 days as a family of five.

The very first day that the girls came home with us, I posted this on Facebook:

After our first day of officially being a family of 5:

  • Chris: I am exhausted.
  • Me: What did you expect having 3 kids to be like?
  • Chris: I thought the baby would sleep and the two year-old would listen.

One of my dear friends commented that he couldn’t wait to see daily updates about our family. That inspired me to do daily posts of being a family of five. And somehow I managed to do daily posts from Day 1 – 100. As I look back on those updates, I remember how crazy life was. And I remember how exhausting life was in the beginning!

So here’s to looking back and remembering where we came from, how far we’ve come and the lessons learned along the way. For the most part, these posts are shared as they were on Facebook. There may be spelling and grammatical errors. There may be emojis. And at some point, I’ll add the pictures that go along with some of these updates.

Day 1

After our first day of officially being a family of 5:

  • Chris: I am exhausted.
  • Me: What did you expect having 3 kids to be like?
  • Chris: I thought the baby would sleep and the two year-old would listen.

Day 2

Day 2 as a family of 5 brought our oldest daughter her first lost tooth! And Chris asking the age old question, “When do kids stop being ornery?”

Day 3

Day 3 of being a family of 5 had Chris asking the question, “How does anyone keep their sanity with a two year-old?” We also had our first family portrait drawn by our oldest daughter.

Day 4

Day 4 as a family 5 brought this ultimatum from Chris: If our President defunds PBS Kids, he has to spend 30 minutes with our kids.

Day 5

Day 5 as a family of 5 brought a first for our family: Chris changed a diaper for the first time ever!

Day 6

Day 6 as a family of 5: all 3 girls fell asleep at the same time (finally!) during nap time, which meant that mommy got to take a nap for one hour this afternoon. Have I mentioned how exhausted Chris and I are?

Day 7

Real life Mother’s Day in the Willard house. Yes, I am at least this exhausted. And yes, I walked the baby with my hair and face looking like this. However, Chris was kind enough to take out our two oldest girls during our baby’s nap this morning so I had two hours all to myself. How did I spend the time? Drinking coffee, reading a few pages in a parenting book, but primarily doing laundry. I guess this is motherhood. Happy Mother’s Day, moms! [picture]

Day 8

Day 8 of being a family of 5: Tucson best depicts how we’re all feeling. All 5 (but really 6) of us are exhausted! [picture]

Our first week with our 3 girls have brought about conversations such as:

  • Me: Are you in the bathroom right now?
  • Chris: Yes.
  • Me: Ugh!!! (As I storm away out of frustration.)

But the past week has also allowed for Chris and me to hear our 3 daughters (yes, even the baby) call us some version of Mommy and Daddy. We’re all getting used to this, but it’s definitely one of the best feelings in the world.

We also have been so overwhelmed by the amazing support of our friends, family, co-workers, and even total strangers during the past couple weeks. They say it takes a village to raise a child. Apparently, we need 3 villages! Thanks to all of you for being part of those villages.

Days 9 & 10

Day 10 as a family of 5 is brought to you by our first family road trip. We’re headed to Nashville today and then on to Charlotte tomorrow. Day 9 included this conversation:

  • Chris: Are we going to survive this road trip?
  • Me: Yes.
  • Chris: We barely survived poop this morning.

Day 11

Day 11 as a family of 5 took us to North Carolina. And of course poop extended our travel time by about 1 hour.

Day 12

Day 12 has given mommy 1 hour alone since Grammy, Grampy, and Auntie Kellyn are in town. Is there any question as to how I’ll spend this time?

Day 13

Day 13 as a family of 5 held many firsts: Chris graduated with his Doctor of Ministry, many of our friends and family met our girls, and our 5 year-old skipped nap time for the first time.

Day 14

Day 14 is taking us back home to STL, with another overnight stop in Nashville. It took our girls a solid 30 minutes to stop saying, “This is taking so long!” And “Mommy! Daddy! I can’t find (fill in the blank).” And then, this conversation:

  • 5 year-old: I need more crackers.
  • Chris: You have plenty of food.
  • 5 year-old: Mommy! I need…
  • Chris: You don’t need anything. Unless there’s a fire in the back seat, I don’t want to hear you ask for anything else right now.
  • ::Silence::
  • 2 year-old: I need a blanket!

And then the 2 year-old asked for her legs, her milk cup, and her face to be covered up.

Day 15

We are officially 2 weeks into this crazy, amazing, overwhelming, exhausting, and fun journey of adopting our 3 girls. We’re finally accustomed to being called Mommy and Daddy and realize that we may never again be Chris and Lindsey. All 5 of us are trying to learn how to be more patient. And most of us are eating way too much pizza.

Day 15 as a family 5 brings us to the final stretch of our 30 hour car ride. During hour 26, the girls and I were eating lunch in the fam van.

Chris (while driving): I just got hit in the head with lettuce.

Day 16

Day 16 as a family of 5 has unleashed a hidden talent in our 5 year-old.

  • Oldest daughter: What do to call a camel with three humps?
  • Chris and me: What?
  • Oldest daughter: Pregnant!

Day 17

Day 17 as a family of 5 brought forth an epiphany: when you have three young children, your life is all about poop. ?

Day 17 began our potty-training adventure with our 2 year-old. On the first day, she told us twice when she needed to go potty, pooped three times in the toilet, peed four times, and stayed dried during nap time.

Day 18

Day 18 as a family of 5, I overheard this conversation between Chris and our 10 month-old:

  • Chris: The zebra best represents 21st century race relations. There is not a lot of gray in society.
  • Chris: And the elephant best represents Machiavellian politics.
  • 10 month-old: Meh.

Day 19

On day 19 (Friday) as a family of 5, mommy became a queen and daddy needed to be handsome when going to work. Mommy finally figured out the handsome to our 5 year-old meant the daddy needed to wear a tie.

Day 20

Day 20 as a family of 5 (Saturday), included our first kid’s birthday party. A co-worker invited us to her 5 year-old son’s birthday party at a park. Here’s what Mommy (I) learned:

  • “You gotta see the baby!” is pretty spot on when you take a baby to a birthday party full of middle-age white women.
  • Our 5 year-old loves water guns. But she hates being sprayed by a water gun just as much as she loves squirting the water gun.
  • Even though all the other parents at a birthday party are drinking, this Mommy had a hard time convincing herself that even one drink was ok since we weren’t staying more than an hour.

Oh, parenting. More like, adulting.

Day 21

Day 21 as a family of 5 included our 2 year-old saying “Girl power” and “Faux punk” at the dinner table, followed by singing “Jesus Loves Me.” (Mommy said 2 of the 3. You can guess which one the two year-old sang on her own.)

Then the dinner conversation ended by our five year-old asking what Mommy has in her bag. Mommy’s response? Swag.

I also told her I have hot sauce in my bag.

Her response? “Mommy, I have a wagon in my bag.”

Day 22

This week is our fourth week as a family of 5. Each day is a new adventure. Each day has ups and downs. Each day is a new day for love, patience, frustration, tears, and laughter.

? Day 22: Our 5 year-old told us that she wants to be a doctor when she grows up.

Day 23

☕ ? ? Day 23: A miracle occurred- all 3 girls slept until 7am which meant that Mommy drank coffee in peace and even read the newspaper! And the day included our first family outing to the zoo. But ended with me exclaiming to Chris, “Why did you tell her my first name?” And possibly overreacting to the fact that our five year-old started calling me Lindsey instead of Mommy.

Day 24

☔ Day 24: We hired a fabulous nanny for the summer! We’ll see if she’s Mary Poppins…

Day 25

Day 25 as a family of 5. Today, Chris had a showdown with The Magic School Bus. He became so frustrated with the episode about baseball that he paused the show, looked at our 5 year-old and said, “This isn’t correct. There’s more to force than friction. They’re not even talking about torque or gravity.”

Day 26

Day 26 as a family of 5. Our 2 year-old and 5 year-old think it’s hilarious to say “booty”, blow your tongue, and then laugh uncontrollably.

It appears that “booty” is our family word.

Day 27

Day 27 as a family of 5 included our girls meeting Uncle Brock and Aunt Dawn. When my aunt and uncle wanted to take a pic with our girls, our 5 year-old decided a paper bag was best. [picture]

Day 28

Day 28 as a family of 5 meant that Grammy and Grampy left after spending the weekend with us. Our 5 year-old started singing a song as we waved bye on the front porch:

“I love my Grampy and Grammy. Come back anytime. We want to see you soon. Bye Grammy and Grampy. I love my Grampy and Grammy…”

Day 29

Today began our fifth week as a family of 5. Chris returned to work today. Our five year-old began her first full week of summer camp today. And our summer nanny also began today. Even if she turns out not to be Mary Poppins, she did organize our fridge, pantry and our reusable bags. So that’s a win in our books. Oh, and she kept the kids alive. And they love her.

Day 29 as a family of 5 included this conversation I had with our 5 year-old, before breakfast:

  • 5 year-old: Mommy, I can’t pick my sister up or read her stories. My back hurts. I’m getting old.
  • Me: Why do you think you’re getting old?
  • 5 year-old: I guess I’m not. I don’t have any of those things (as she points under her nose) above my lip.
  • Me: Any of what things? Hair, like a mustache?
  • 5 year-old: Yes, a mustache like you have.
  • Me: ?

Day 30

Day 30 as a family of 5. Our 5 year-old played tennis for the first time and was amazing! And she had on her listening ears at sports camp today (unlike yesterday), so that’s a plus.

Poop was a major focus of the day. One poop explosion from the baby. One poop in the pull-up and one poop in the potty from the two year-old.

And Daniel Tiger taught the girls how to say “I’m mad!” so we’ll see what happens with that.

Day 31

Day 31 as a family of 5. Today was the first day I’ve had poop on me (that wasn’t my own) in a very long time. But at least I made it to Day 31 before one of the girls pooped on me. 

Day 32

Day 32 as a family of 5. As our 2 year-old was sitting on the potty, she reached over to me and said, “You’re my mommy.”

Day 33

Today is Day 33 as a Family of 5. Today, our baby is 11 months old. Chris completed his first week of work as Daddy. And we have made huge strides in the first month+ of being a family. Our five year-old sits “still” at the table. She also recognizes letters other than those in her name and now knows letter sounds. Our baby is down to zero to one bottles of formula a day. Our baby is taking a long afternoon nap, and a short morning nap (if need be). And tonight, our two year-old’s binky went for a trip. Ten minutes of whining is all it took for her to calm down. Binky will be taking a forever trip.

Our five year-old also completed her first, full week of summer camp this week and did tennis, soccer, basketball, yoga, taekwondo, and trapeze for the first time ever. We had a nanny for the first time this week (as a nanny for many years, it’s really strange that we now have a nanny), and she’s actually coming back next week. And our baby is sleeping soundly throughout the night.

Whew. Here’s to Day 34.

Day 34

Day 34 as a family of 5. “It’s 9:30pm. It’s late.” – Chris

Day 35

Day 35 as a family of 5. Not all of our moments are cute and fun. And Mommy sometimes gets too frustrated. On Day 35, I had to apologize and kiss a bear for throwing him out of the bathroom.

Day 36

Day 36 as a family of 5. Our 5 year-old started summer school and learned how to write the letter B correctly.

Day 37

Day 37 as a family of 5. Mommy and Daddy are out at a Muse concert! We’ll see how this goes with the baby-sitter…

Day 38

Day 38 as a family of 5. After leaving the girls with a baby-sitter for 3 hours so that Chris and I could attend an adoption meeting, I walked in the door 10 minutes late. I thought it a little strange that the 2 year-old was not wearing pants and that the baby was without a shirt.

I was told there were a couple of accidents and wardrobe changes. Fair enough, I thought. And then, before I could say anything, the babysitter apologized for the toys still being out. I told her not to worry about and the girls could clean it up.

Then she told me the two year-old’s dirty clothes were in the bathroom sink because she didn’t know where to put them. That’s fine, I said.

Two minutes after the baby-sitter left, I discovered that the baby’s diaper was on backwards. And that there were not just dirty clothes but a diaper filled with poop in the sink. A sink that is right beside of the diaper genie in the bathroom. And then I discovered poop all over and around and on (and probably under) the toilet.

The baby-sitter has met her match. Willard Girls: 1. Baby-sitter: Out.

Day 39

Day 39 as a family of 5. Mommy and the 3 girls took a road trip to Grammy and Grampy’s today. We somehow survived the trip without Chris.

When it was time to watch tv with Grammy and Grampy’s, our 5 year-old lined up all of her stuffed animals on the table, facing the tv, so that they could watch Land Before Time.

(No updates on Day 40 or 41)

Day 42

Day 42 as a family of 5. Our 2 year-old decided that today was the day to look at the Bernstein Bears Easter book. She was reading the book to herself before I realized what book she was reading. Once she got to the page where Jesus is on the cross, she loudly instructed him to “Get down boy!”

(No updates on Days 43 & 44)

Day 45

Day 45 as a family of 5. Our 5 year-old had a great day at school! She used her words instead of her hands when another student pushed her and then participated in science experiments! During science (or STEAM – STEM with art – as we call it), she hypothesized what items would melt outside. She correctly guessed all of the items. And she even raised her hand and answered questions in class.

And then, bedtime came along. After she got out of bed twice, I waited for her to calm down and then went to see what was wrong. Her response? “You don’t care about me. You’re just downstairs, eating your food.”

Oh, the life of a parent.

Day 46

Day 46 as a family of 5. Post-dinner conversation:

Chris: I think I forgot to wash my hair this morning in the shower.

Day 47

Day 47 as a family of 5. Our five year-old went on her first field trip to see a play.

Day 48

Day 48 as a family of 5. We all went blackberry and vegetable picking today! Two girls only had a slight meltdown and only one of our girls fell into the bushel of veggies.

Day 49

Day 49 as a family of 5. Just another after dinner conversation…

  • Chris: Did you wash the pants I was wearing earlier today?
  • Me: Yes.
  • Chris: I think I had a bow in them.
  • Me: The bow Dusty was wearing?
  • Chris: Yes.

Dusty is a stuffed animal cat.

Days 50-52

Today is Day 52 as a family of 5. I had the best of intentions to write a long post on Day 50 and talk about all of the joys, trials, and rollercoaster experiences we’ve gone through the first 50 days. But life happened and I had no time to write even a short Facebook post. Maybe I’ll find some time before Day 100…

Day 50 as a family of 5. Our five year-old started doing word games at the dinner table. But Chris and I couldn’t figure it the actual game. One word game went something like, “Dog and dog house. You put them together, and then you have ick.” Chris decided to try his hand at the game. “Appalachia. Coal mining jobs. You take away the coal mining jobs, and then you have the GOP.” Our five year-old was not impressed.

Day 51 as a family of 5. One of the tougher days since becoming a family of 5. Reality began to set in (even more than it already has) that this is going to be a long journey. We’re keeping expectations realistic, which often means that expectations are not high. Sometimes a low bar is best.

Day 52 as a family of 5. This morning, our five year-old spelled her name correctly and wrote all of the letters in her name the correct way. Two weeks in a summer kindergarten program, and she has mastered writing her name!

And Day 52 as a family of 5 ended with this question from our 5 year-old:

“Mommy, why did God give me a vagina?”

Day 53

Day 53 as a family of 5. One of the characters on the Curious George episode we were watching was named Jorge (pronounced hor-hay, for those Spanish illiterate). Our 2 year-old started saying “Jorge” over and over again. Then she looked at me and said, “Hor Mommy.”

I ignored it, in hopes of that phrase not being said over and over again.

(No updates Days 54 & 55)

Day 56

Day 56 as a family of 5. I walked into the living room at Grammy and Grampy’s house and saw this. Our five year-old rolled herself up in the rug. The following conversation happened:

  • Me: What are you doing?
  • 5 year-old: I’m bored.
  • Me: Do you want to lay on the couch and watch tv?
  • 5 year-old: No thanks. I’m talking to God.

Day 57

Day 57 as a family of 5. Today we celebrated the 4th of July Willard style! We celebrated a day early at Grammy and Grampy’s by swimming in the pool, watching daddy set off some fireworks, and making cupcakes. Sugar rush, anyone?

Day 58

??? Day 58 as a family of 5. July 4th is one of my favorite holidays, if only because of all the fireworks. However, I haven’t been able to enjoy the fireworks in our neighborhood this year since I’m in constant fear of my 3 girls waking up.

Oh, priorities. Oh, parenting. Oh, life.

And instead of enjoying fireworks tonight, our five year-old had STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, math) homework to complete for tomorrow. For kindergarten class. In summer school/camp. Over the 4th of July weekend.

  • Question 1: What is a habitat?
  • Her answer: A place where living things has everything it needs.
  • Question 2: Which planet has the icy rings?
  • Her answer: Saturn
  • Question 3: What does abiotic mean?
  • Her answer: Not living.
  • Question 4: Fill in the blank. The sun is a hot ___.
  • Her answer: star.
  • Question 5: Draw a picture of something that is biotic.
  • Her answer: She drew a cat.

Days 59-63

Day 63 as a family of 5. This weekend, we’ve celebrated our baby’s first birthday with much of our extended family. The first birthday celebration as a family of 5!

Day 61 and 62 as a family of 5. Our girls met many more of their extended family at their first family reunion.

Day 60 as a family of 5. Day 2 of a 3 day field trip week at school. Our five year-old is so exhausted that she said she would rather stay home and take a nap with her sisters instead of going on the field trip.

Day 59 as a family of 5. No more pull-ups! Our two year-old is officially potty-trained!! Two kids down, one to go…

(No updates on Days 64 & 65)

Day 66

Day 66 as a family of 5. All three girls slept until 7am today. I had a full hour to drink coffee and read the paper outside. Who cares that we’re in a heat advisory! I told myself that today was the best day ever. At the very least, it was the best morning ever. 

(No updates on Day 67)

Day 68

Day 68 as a family of 5. Our 12 month-old just took her first step!!

Day 69

Day 69 as a family of 5. When your 5 year-old and 2 year-old are still awake an hour and a half after putting them to bed, and they have unplugged the monitor and sound machine in their room, and you caught the two year-old standing on her toddler rail to try to see the book her sister was reading in the top bunk, and both kids get out of bed to tell you they have to go to the bathroom, this statement comes out of your mouth:

“I’m eating the two year-old’s chocolate muffin.”

P.S. It was delicious!

Day 70

Day 70 as a family of 5. Chris took our 12 month-old to the grocery store. After arriving at the store, he called me.

  • Chris: I’m at the store. Do I put her in the regular cart or do I need to get the big cart with the two seats for her?
  • Me: Say that again?
  • Chris: (annoyed and now talking slower) Do I need to get the regular cart or large cart for the baby?
  • Me: She can just go in the regular cart.

We’re all still learning.

Day 71

Day 71 as a family of 5. As our 5 year-old was leaving school today, she told me:

“Mommy, I want to be a teacher when I grow up. I want to teach kids about science.”

What did she learn about in science today? Maybe something about camels. But who cares. She already loves science!

Day 72

Day 72 as a family of 5. The baby pooped in the bath tub. The two year-old showed me the poop. It’s definitely the right ending to this day. 

(No updates on Days 73 & 74)

Day 75

Day 75 as a family of 5. Grammy and Grampy are in town. Since my birthday is Wednesday, Chris and I decided to celebrate tonight with our kids, Grammy and Grampy.

Everyone sang, “Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday to…”

Then a loud scream occured as our 5 year-old proceeded to fall out of her chair. Tears. Screams. And then embarrassment followed.

No one finished singing happy birthday. But we all did eat cake and ice cream.

Day 76

Day 76 as a family of 5. When all the power goes out at 3am for you and 85,000 of your neighbors, your 3 girls are even more exhausting than normal. But having a sleepover with flashlights, blankets and bean bag chairs makes it fun for some. So grateful power was restored within 9 hours. And even more thankful for electricity and those who restored it!

Day 77

Day 77 as a family of 5. After picking up our 5 year-old from school, she quickly reminded me that she wants to be a teacher when she grows up. She informed me that she wants to teach science not to little kids, but to big kids. She then told me she needs to learn how to be a teacher and that it costs money to go to college. Right after that statement, she told me that phones cost money and that she’s going to have a phone when she grows up. She then asked if a phone is $1 or $5.

We can all dream.

Day 78

Day 78 as a family of 5. When you get home early and still have the baby-sitter for 23 minutes, this happens. [pic of Chris and I asleep in the car]

Chris: I think I did doze off for a minute.

Day 79

Day 79 as a family of 5. Chris and I were trying to speak to one another at the dinner table. Our two year-old was not having it.

Two year-old: I can’t sing while you’re talkin’. I can’t stay focused now.

Day 80

Day 80 as a family of 5. Auntie Kellyn is in town. After Kellyn and I picked up my 5 year-old daughter from summer school, this conversation happened:

  • 5 year-old: I want to go to the movies.
  • Kellyn: Have you ever been to the theater to see a movie?
  • 5 year-old: No. Mommy won’t let me.

We only tell kernels of truth in our family.

Day 81

Day 81 as a family of 5. A few highlights from today:

Before 7am, I had already Google searched “how to clean urine from a mattress,” cleaned up dog poop on the carpet, and not had any coffee.

While reading a book tonight that mentioned how the duck was blue because he was alone, our two year-old exclaimed: “He’s not blue. He’s orange!”

All 3 adults, 3 kids, and 1 animal that were in the house today took a nap.

Apparently, this is what my mid-30s are going to look like.

Day 82

Day 82 as a family of 5. After 2 of our 3 girls had a 3 hour nap, and the oldest went to her first movie at a theater, we grilled out for dinner. Afterwards, we had cupcakes with Auntie Kellyn to celebrate her birthday.

Then the two year-old poked the five year-old with a stick. And tears and screaming insued.

Then we had peace and quiet so I took some pictures.

Then the two year-old ran off and wanted to be alone outside. Five minutes later, I decided to go see why she was sitting by herself.

Poop. All down her leg.

That led to an unplanned bath night.

By then, the five year-old was tired and barely able to dress herself for bed. But she (as in we) made it through that ordeal.

Just before I bathed the baby and then put her to bed, I heard Auntie Kellyn say: “Chris, Tucson just ate part of a crayon.”

Just a typical Sunday in the Willard house.

(No updates on Days 83 & 84)

Day 85

Day 85 as a family of 5. I was waiting for the moment that I started feeling like I’m really a mom. Today, I had to order school uniform clothes for our five year-old.

I’m officially feeling like a mom.

(No update on Day 86)

Day 87

Day 87 as a family of 5. I was feeling on my game after taking all 3 kids and the dog on a walk by myself. And then I put the pizza in the oven while giving baths.

When I came out of the bathroom, our kitchen was engulfed in smoke. Apparently, I put the pizza in the oven upside down.

There’s a first for everything.

Day 88

Day 88 as a family of 5. We met Grammy and Grampy for lunch today. Our 5 year-old ate 3 x-large pancakes, 3/4 of a cheeseburger, fries, and milk at lunch. She also captured this amazing pic of Mommy and Daddy.

Oh, and all 3 girls were asleep by 7:15pm.

(No update on Day 89)

Day 90

Day 90 as a family of 5. Once we sat down to dinner tonight, I told our 5 year-old the plan for the rest of the week. The plan basically includes continuing sports camp, who will drop her off, and who will pick her up. She looked at me and said, “I don’t think so. That’s too much for me.”

(No update on Day 91)

Day 92

Day 92 as a family of 5. Chris and I visited Ferguson today on the third anniversary of Mike Brown’s death. After attending a service of prayer and healing at a church in Ferguson- and stating, “I bear witness” everytime the pastor said, “Black lives matter” – we took the annual pilgrimage to the site wear Mike Brown was killed.

We stood at the site for awhile with only a dozen or so other people. As we were walking back to the car, I realized that we have the luxury of not being forced to speak to our 3 girls about Mike Brown, unlike the numerous kids who live in the apartment complex and neighboring homes that surround the memorial.

One day, we’ll have to have that conversation. But for now, our 3 girls just need to know that they are loved, they are safe, and that they have a home to come to every night.

(No update on Day 93)

Day 94

Day 94 as a family of 5. Today included 4 shots, 3 doctor’s appointments, 2 round trips from my house to work (20 miles one way), and 1 nebulizer treatment.

Welcome to motherhood.

(No updates on Days 95 & 96)

Day 97

Day 97 as a family of 5. Today was the first day of school for our 5 year-old, and the first day of preschool for our toddler and two year-old.

And while I see all these Pinterest worthy pics parents post on Facebook of their children on the first day of school, we were lucky just to get a picture. Just of our 5 year-old. And even though she’s crossing her arms and giving attitude to the camera (though she claims she’s smiling and happy in the picture), I’ll take it.

Nothing is currently Pinterest worthy in our life. But our house is full of love (and princesses and cat backpacks).

Day 98

Day 98 as a family of 5. Our 5 year-old completed her first homework assignment of the school year. After completing her homework, she wanted to draw a pic of our family on the back.

She included Grammy, Grampy, Auntie Kellyn, Uncle Larry, Aunt Jackie, Laney, Lucy, Tucson, Mommy, Daddy, and her 2 sisters.

And hearts for everyone!

(No update on Day 99)

Day 100

Day 100 as a family of 5. A blog post is forthcoming, I promise. But for now, an update about the activities our 3 kids participated in today.

Our 13 month old and 2 year-old were at preschool for the fourth day. Our toddler (no longer a baby!) painted with her feet today. Our 2 year-old outlined a heart with Legos, recognized colors, and had to name shapes throughout the classroom.

Our 5 year-old was in pre-kindergarten for the fourth day. Her favorite classes are music and science. Yesterday, she played the drums and guitar in music. Today she explored the school’s garden. She was able to touch the corn and watch the pumpkins grow!

The first 100 days have been full of laughter, tears, anxiety, excitement, sleep, no sleep, pain, koy, gried, and pure happiness. We’ve come a long way but have so much further to go! Thank you for supporting us, praying for us, and wanting to be part of our journey.

We’ll see what the next 100 days bring for the Willard family of 5.

Day 101

Day 101 as a family of 5 . August 18 marked the third anniversary of the first day I protested in Ferguson. I made my annual anniversary pilgrimage to Ferguson, visiting the parking lot where I parked three years ago and then the site where Mike Brown was killed.

Only this year, many things are different. I’m now a mom of 3 young girls. There is no memorial in the middle of Canfield Drive or on the lightpole adjacent to the street. The parking lot where the national guard, tanks and news crews were once stationed, becomes emptier as the years pass especially since the Target in the shopping center has closed.

As I was sitting in the empty lot contemplating the events that led to August 9 and want had transpired in the years since that day, I received a phone call that our 13 month old was sick. The first thought that came to mind was, I have my real-life to worry about. The next thought was, being in Ferguson is also my real-life. And then as I drove down West Florissant, the thought occurred that I have my real-life to worry about but Mike Brown’s real-life wasn’t given a chance.

Hopefully my 3 girls will get that chance, as well as opportunities, resources and all the support they need to flourish and thrive. Chris and I will do everything we can possibly do to make that happen.

Day 109

Day 109 as a family of 5.

  • Me to Chris: “We’ve had a good Saturday morning.”
  • 10 minutes later, a police officer was at our front door.

We’re still trying to determine which girl pressed the panic button on the alarm panel.

Day 114

Day 114 as a family of 5. After leaving the house today, I had the sneaking suspicion that I had forgotten to brush my hair.

My suspicion was correct.

I’m officially part of the mom club.

Day 115

Day 115 as a family of 5. We have worked with our five year-old all summer on recognizing letters and their sounds. After dinner tonight, instead of going downstairs for Movie Friday, she decided to sit at the counter and write letters. 3 months ago, she couldn’t even write the letters in her name without help. Tonight, she wrote all of these letters from memory. And, as usual, had to enhance her writing with artwork.

Chris and I brought home our three daughters – BW, MW and SW – in May 2017. The adoption was finalized on September 6, 2018. We learn each day how to navigate life as white parents to three black girls. You can read our adoption story here.

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