When we set out, we did not plan to have a family that was outside the mold. However, it all started when two adventurous people got married, enjoyed a bit of life together and decided to start a family.
And the Lord said let there be children
After about 9 months of, well, no luck, I went in for some tests. A few days later, a doctor told us that the chances of us conceiving naturally was nil. Biological children was not in the cards for us. We discussed, prayed, researched, and it was unanimous. We decided to pursue adoption.
When we had barely began our required adoption training, we got a call that a young mother was very interested in meeting us. We drove to Cincinnati to the home of a mediator where we met this young mother and her parents. The interview went well, but a week later, we were told the mother chose another family to adopt her child. The very next day, we were notified that the chosen family had backed out and we were chosen. 2 days later Nicole and I were in the delivery room watching our first little baby girl being born. 3 days later, on a snowy weekend in early 2004, we took EL home from the hospital and became a family of 3.
After a few months of enjoying our first baby, we got the ball rolling for a second adoption and got our names on the waiting list – expecting to wait a while. After a year of waiting, a hospital in Cincinnati called our agency regarding a young lady who had arrived, in labor, and desired to not keep the baby. Nicole and I were called on a Sunday, offered the chance to go down and see this newborn baby boy – and if we agreed, he was ours. EB was born nameless in the spring of 2006, and had a name by the time he left the hospital in our car (because we had picked up a name book on the way to the hospital).
In February of 2009, Nicole called me at work. She had taken a pregnancy test and it was positive. In disbelief, I came straight home. A few other tests returned the same results and it wasn’t until the doctor confirmed it 2 weeks later that we fully believed it was true. With our third child on the way, Nicole experienced her first pregnancy, during which we enjoyed our first trip to Disney World during the 2nd trimester, and a long weekend camping trip during the 3rd trimester. On an early Sunday morning in the fall, Nicole called me as I was getting the band ready for our church gathering. It was time to go to the hospital. 26 hours later, on my 30th birthday, EC was born.
Some time passed.
An middle aged couple at our church had taken 4 siblings into their home ranging in age from newborn to a 14 year old. One day at church, Nicole casually asked the “foster” dad what the future held for the children and he said they hoped to be able to adopt them out. Nicole and I both secretly thought maybe we should pursue the baby girl. So we did. We got our foster license in time to be able to legally take her into our home. She lived with us for a year and a half while her case progressed through the system. We (all 5 of us) drove her to visitations every Wednesday for months, and had many case workers visit us. And in the fall of 2012, CJ was legally adopted and became a Chilcote.
Nicole and I both had wonderful public school experiences. However, by the time our oldest was ready for school, we had both felt confident that homeschooling was the best option for our family. Nicole’s heart was to be with the children and with no professional aspirations, it all made sense. Though we felt severely inadequate we were driven by a deep conviction that we should take responsibility for the education (not to mention the social and spiritual formation) of our children.
From the outset, the plan was to go year to year with no long term plan either way. After a year of preschool at our church, EL entered kindergarten with Mrs. Mommy as her teacher. We had become homeschoolers.
Drawing from her background in music education, Nicole became the champion home educator. She spent countless hours being mentored by other home schooling moms. She read blogs, searched the internet, and pieced it all together. Over the years we’ve made it work through trial and error. We’ve participated in various co-ops, tried many different curriculum (including online public schools) and have finally settled in to a good rhythm. Each child attended our church preschool for their first year and then entered the Chilcote Academy.
The final piece falls into place
I can’t say I followed any sort of planned career path. In fact, my life path seems to have unfold before me without much input from me. I went to college to be a film maker but dropped out to join a professional music group. That lead to a short stint as a graphic artist while I awaited my call into full-time ministry. I spent 11 years on staff at a church as an ordained minister doing music, media and everything else you can imagine (except preach the sermon). In the final 3-4 years of my vocational ministry career, I had a growing discontentment. I reached a point of burnout, was generously given a sabbatical, came back to an organization undergoing major changes. Through a series of chance encounters with individuals, I came to hear about a job I was curiously well-equipped for within a company that sounded too good to be true.
I applied for the job.
4 months later, I was hired to do user support for a software company. I would work from home, set my own hours, be able to take off anytime I needed to, and enjoy some amazing benefits.
Our house is not exceedingly large. It is a cozy, 3 bedroom ranch with a full finished basement. I work in the back room of the basement while Mom and the kids do school on the main floor.
We are all at home together every day.
So we continue on our trajectory. It’s an interesting one. The time we have remaining with our children is limited and we have a growing discontentment with a life filled with appointments, birthday parties that bring more toys into the house, owning things that require maintenance.
We are in pursuit of a simpler life filled with less stuff and more meaning.