Friday, February 11, 2011

Downsizing With a Growing Family

When Ken and I shared our plans to downsize from our 3000 square foot home, several friends and family were concerned.
"Are you guys doing okay?"
"Do you need help with anything?"
"I'm sorry to hear you're having to move."

We totally understood others' concerns because what we are doing is so odd in this culture, the only assumption was that we had fallen on hard times.

The truth is times ARE hard, for many people all over the country.  But Ken has a great job with an excellent, growing company.  While our ultimate security rests in God's plan for us, we don't have any fears on the job front that would lead us to cut back.

A few months ago, if you had asked us if we'd ever move, we could have answered with an emphatic "no way!"  My answer tended to be, "We'll live here until the kids are grown unless God has something crazy-different in store for us that we can't foresee."

Ken came to me in November, asking how I might feel if we downsized.  I think he was a little nervous to bring it up, not knowing how I would react.  When he asked, I felt a burden immediately lift from my shoulders.  While we adore this house--the look of it, the floor plan, the yards, the pool, and above all, the neighbors surrounding us--we both knew downsizing was something we needed to seriously pray about.

After discussing it with the kids and having an enthusiastic reaction from them, we decided to go through with it.  We had no doubt God was leading us in this direction.  It's scary. It's against our self-protective tendencies.   It's the right thing.

Some of the benefits:

  • The equity from our home will fund the adoption. That's enough reason right there.
  • A simpler home will allow a simpler lifestyle.  While we love the pool and big yard, both of those benefits come at a cost in labor, money or both.  We are moving where we have a pool and play areas, but don't have to maintain it.  I know living in an apartment setting will be stressful in its own way, but if it's unbearable, we can always leave after our lease is out. We have met a family who just signed their 4th year lease there.
  • Pride.  We have had a lot of pride in our house.  Every time friends come to visit we hear comments about it's beauty, perfect location, amazing yard, etc.  Quite a few times, friends have used the words "covet" or "jealous" when they give their opinion of our home.  Ken and I honestly say that we want to use the home God gave us for His glory, but it's easy to begin misplacing our security and pride in this house.
  • Money.  While we are not in financial hardship (for now...keep praying our house will sell quickly!), we don't have much, if anything, left at the end of each month.  After going through FPU two times, taking a marriage class that required us to create and review our budget, then reporting our budget for our dossier, it was clear that this house was sucking away a huge percentage of our budget. Much higher than what is recommended according to any financial planning tool we could find.  Downsizing will allow us to travel, save, give, and do other things important to the Brown family.
Western clture says that a bigger family requires more room.  I love what my friend, Adrienne Freas said: "People don't take up space. Stuff takes up space."

So, here we go! Off into a new adventure!


  1. wow! i totally love it! be a counter culture rebel and reep in the benefits!!!!! ;) i think its fabulous. i truly do. we live in what most people probably consider a starter home with 5 kids. its home sweet home to us and we love it. sometimes off the beaten path isn't quite so bad??? :)

  2. Sarah I'm a friend of your mom's enjoying your blog through a link she posted. I grew up the oldest of 5 kids who lived quite happily in a thousand sq ft house with only one bathrm for most of our childhood. I also went through a similar adoption process when adopting my 2nd daughter from Vietnam in 1998 and remember well the joy/tension involved in the wait esp at the time the dossier was making it's way to the country. The joy when you get to your child so quickly erases the tension of the ups and downs of the process (INS came up with 3 problems with my paperwk exactly one week before I was to fly--all solved by the next business day). She's been a real joy in my life and I've homeschooled her most of her elementary yrs, though she's in a christian school this yr for 6th grade. Praying a quick timeline for both your house sale and your travel to China knowing God will set up whatever is perfect for all of you. Rochelle Leckliter

  3. We did the same thing Sarah, 4 years ago. For many of the same reasons. While it hasn't been without it's bumps in the road we are very happy living counter culture. Praying for your journey!

  4. I love your friend Adrienne's quote! So true!

  5. God continues to lead you and bless you. You will have your precious boys in His own time.