Do Snakes Poop?

I am exhausted. It is 8:51 on a Friday night as I start to write this entry, and I am ready for bed. My husband is upstairs tucking in the last of the stragglers, but he just called down to ask me if I want to watch a movie tonight. I do! I really do! I hope I can stay awake until the end.

Friday nights seem to be when I reach the end of my energy reserves. I have been going all week-long – home schooling, cooking, cleaning, chauffeuring and mediating and I have used up all of my reserve tank. I am so thankful that my husband gets to stay home tomorrow and I am already dreaming about the nap I might take. You understand, don’t you? I mean, look at the energy and controlled chaos that I surround myself with every day…..


However, as I sit here typing, I am not feeling on-the-verge-of-tears, I-wasn’t-yelling-at-you-just-talking-loudly, maybe-it-would-be-better-if-I-left-the-room kind of exhaustion. It is just plain tired.

I hear my husband praying with our little boys. They are so full of questions! All the time, really, but especially at bedtime.

“Which one win a fight, Dad, a shark or a hyena?”

“Why we change underwear everyday, everyday, everyday? They no dirty!”

“Do snakes poop? I no think so because they no have any bottom.” (True story. I am not making this stuff up, people!)

Those boys make me laugh everyday. It is such a treat to view our world through those little eyes. Everything is new! Everything is amazing! Just the other day when we were driving home, Micah had me literally crying with laughter at his interpretation of this sign…..


“I know what this sign mean, Mom. It mean no wiping your bottom here.” Absolutely, son. There is no wiping your bottom here.

Joel is in his room right now with a friend. They are building Legos, discussing the Lord of the Rings (VERY important discussion, I am told), and trying to figure out how much it would cost for a trip to New Zealand (where Lord of the Rings was filmed, don’t you know that Mom?!?!). That oldest son of mine blesses me every day. Last Friday, when I was feeling the “maybe-it-would-be-better-if-I-left-the-room” kind of exhaustion, he volunteered to clean the kitchen after dinner. And he said, “No problem, Mom!” when I thanked him for it. He still wonders sometimes why his new brothers and sisters aren’t always nice to him, but he is trying so hard to put himself in their shoes and be understanding.

I hear the girls giggling in their bedroom. They have bunk beds up there, and each girl has their own space. But this week they convinced us to pull all of the mattresses off the frames and arrange them on the floor into one extra-large bed. And they have been sleeping there, together, every night. They tell each other stories. They play-act with their dolls and stuffed animals. I taught them the game I used to play with my sister when we were growing up – using their fingers to draw stories on each others backs and then guessing the story. They take turns having the honor of being the last guesser, because that girl is the lucky one who gets to relax right before drifting off to sleep. Every night I think I should go upstairs and make them stop playing so they can get some rest. Every night I don’t do it because my heart is happy as I listen to them simply being sisters.

Micah and Naomi started reading! Did you know that? Very basic, still, but reading! Simple books with simple words, but you should see the pride on their faces as they read aloud to me. Those two darlings went from learning their alphabet, to learning their letter sounds, to beginning readers in only 6 months!


Levi is now riding his bicycle without training wheels. He had never ridden a bike before he came to America. The first time he sat on it and picked up his feet, he was adamant that the bicycle was broken because it did not go. Also, he was sure the tires were broken because the bike kept tipping to one side. We put on his training wheels and he was moving at full-speed within days. Now, 6 months later, he doesn’t need any help at all. That little guy is a tornado of energy. He never stops moving. Never sits still. Never stops talking and asking questions. Never stops laughing.

Hannah no longer cries every day. Oh, for a while there, we were dealing with tears and hurt feelings and a sort of grief for the loss of her always-available-Mommy. But she is now reveling in her new role as a sister. Hannah and Naomi are developing a special relationship. It helps that Hannah likes to be the leader and Naomi likes to follow. And it really helps that the girls no longer fight over matching underwear!

I see such hope when I look at Leah. She started counseling and has been slowly working through her feelings. She is learning how to deal with the anger, the hurt, and the sadness that overtake her at times. We still have bad days, and those bad days really are just as bad. But the good days are more frequent. And they are a better kind of good day than we have ever had before. She is allowing her heart to open to us. She accepts our love, our hugs, our comfort. And, sometimes, she even returns them. I see her trying so hard! She made dinner this week. It was her idea and she took over the kitchen, not letting me lift a finger to help!


And tonight – when she saw that I had not stopped to eat dinner because I was busy pouring milk, and getting clean forks when one fell on the floor, and dishing up seconds, and wiping up the spilt milk, and buttering bread – she quietly poured my water, set a napkin by my plate, and then pulled my hand and said, “Sit down, Mommy. Eat. You need to eat and I know you hungry.” My heart thrilled because I know she cares. She really does. Even if she doesn’t allow herself to admit it, yet.

I just realized how quiet it is in the little boys’ room. I am pretty sure I know what that means….


You all are going to think I made this up. Seriously, now, friends. This is what I found. Scott fell asleep while he was tucking in the littles. I guess that means I no longer have a movie date for tonight.

But, do you know what I do have? A house full of love. A heart full of hope for my children’s future. A life full of joy.

So, yes, I am exhausted. And, yes, I am going to bed at 10:00 on a Friday night. But I wouldn’t want it any other way.




6 thoughts on “Do Snakes Poop?

  1. Amanda

    I loved, loved, LOVED this post! Thank you once again for your transparency. And your great sense of humor! 🙂

  2. Liesje Beverly Blank

    Natalie, what joy it brings to read how all your family has grown in love, how your children are thriving, more than thriving. Great leaps and bounds in six months. I know you are exhausted, but look at what you have made possible for your beautiful and very smart children. It is a joy to read how much things have changed for each one of them. How your love and energy has changed them. You are all so amazing! Also, my offer still stands for help. I have time available this coming week. Let me know how I can help. May God continue to grace each of you and give you and Scott all the energy and patience needed to continue your great work. With love

  3. Merri Mattly

    Love this post. We have also expanded our family through the adoption of 5 additional little ones. This makes me smile and warms my heart.

  4. Ellen Pfeiffer

    My heart sings, my spirit sores as I read this. Sometimes I get low because I just am not seeing the love that is. I don’t see the joy that is everywhere. It always seems that when this is happening along comes one of your incredible updates. I get to be outside of my world and into yours. I see each of the children in my mind as you share about them From deep within my soul I say thanks for all that there is including your sharing of your life and of course, for you.

  5. Phyllis Kindig

    This is the first time I read your blog and what attracted me to it, was do snakes poop? My 36 yr old son had a snake since last June and he had it in a big cage. And guess what ? It poops! Sorry to disprove your thoughts. I really enjoyed reading about your family. What a blessing! Take care of yourself and your family. May there be great love and peace in your home and God richly bless you for your labor of love!
    Phyllis (Pauling) Kindig

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