Jennifer Burnett describes herself as a “mother, wife, sister, daughter, friend; I am a Christian and an animal lover.” She and husband Andy have lived in his grandmother’s rural Urbana home for the last 20 years, where they have raised four daughters ages 20, 19, 16, and 12. Jennifer operates an in-home daycare, has a hobby farm where she raises cows, chickens, and turkeys for my family; and she homeschools the family’s two youngest children. Jennifer and her family are now in the process of adopting a little boy from across the world.
See why we think Jennifer is a Chambana mom to know.
Q: You hosted a Ukranian little boy over the summer who you are now trying to adopt. Were you prepared that that might be the end result?
Not at all, we have hosted many college students from other countries over the years as they attended the Intensive English Institute at the U of I; we loved hosting them and learning about their countries and cultures. When this opportunity came up we did not think it would end up in an attempt to adopt, we just thought it was an extension of what we had done in the past, and we thought we could give an orphan a wonderful vacation in America.
Q: What are the challenges you face as you attempt to bring your son home?
Finances are a big challenge; we were not prepared for the cost. We did expect it to be expensive but did not know how many different expenses would be involved. The trail of paperwork is also a challenge to get accomplished and to the right people at the right time. That being said it is of course 100% worth it. (You can help the family here: bit.ly/1fkQn5V).
Q: What advice would you have for other families who are interested in hosting an orphan over the summer?
It is an experience you will never forget. Not all children who come for hosting are adoptable, and it may not be right if adoption is your main goal, it will be hard to say goodbye but you will never be sorry you put yourself out there for a child who has so little. Hosting programs can be found on the Internet and through some adoption agencies.
Q: You operate a home daycare in your home. What have you learned about parenting your own kids from helping to care for other people’s children?
I learned most of what I know about being a parent from my mother who struggled for years as a single mom when divorce was still a nasty word. She worked hard and provided what we needed, gave us boundaries, and unrelenting love. I also learned a lot from being a nanny to my cousins when I was just out of high school. I learned to pick your battles with children and once you pick a battle, win. Know that children will do and say anything, do not over react. Children need to know that you can handle anything to keep their world safe. Be consistent, have boundaries and love without judgment.
Q: What do you love about where you live?
I love that we live in a old farm house that has been in my husbands family since it was built in the early 1900’s, I love that we are in the country but still close enough to town to run to the store or children’s activities without any trouble or to much extra time.
Q: Your friend who nominated you told me “She wears so many hats simultaneously that it could make the most talented multi-tasker sit up and take notice.” Any tips on how you manage all of those tasks that you can share with us?
I take one task at a time, and many in a day. I have to plan my day well and be ready for something or someone to take me off course. I am a very “go with the flow” person and am able to say, “what doesn’t get done today will still be waiting for me tomorrow”, and that’s ok. My oldest daughter and my mother are also a lot of help when things get complicated.
Q: What are your family’s favorite holiday traditions?
Our family is very traditional, meaning if we have a tradition we stick to it. We love to go to Christmas Eve service where my husband usually plays in the worship band, we then drive through Candlestick Lane and look at the lights, get Chinese food, then home to open one present. The children go to bed and my husband and I watch “Christmas Vacation” and wrap the presents we bought for the children.
Jennifer Burnett was nominated to be a Chambana mom to know. Do you know of a mom or dad who should be featured? Contact us today!