The Fravel Family has had an interesting couple of years. Getting laid off from work, moving from out of state, emergency surgery, and surprise pregnancies. It’s been quite the ride for these two who met as young teenagers in Panama.
After Meghan’s sophomore in high school, she had a life changing experience on a missions trip to Egypt. She stayed there for 4 months having significant growth in her spiritual life. When she returned home, she did not want school to influence her into becoming her old self. She also had been doing horribly during her first two years in high school- mostly for talking too much, focusing on the social not academic, so Meghan decided to homeschool the last two years of high school. She got a full time job at the Christian book store while homeschooling. That next school year she went on another missions trip to Mexico and Panama.
17 year old Justin just so happened to me on the same missions trip in Panama. It was immediate attraction. Justin said it was the only time he felt God audibly speak to him saying, “this is your wife” the first time they met. After the trip was done, they went back to their home towns, but the long distance relationship wasn’t meant to be. They decided marrying was a better plan! Just months after graduating high school, they married and Justin moved from Pennsylvanian to Arizona where Meghan was from. “Without the life experience I was able to have at such an young age, I wouldn’t have been ready to get married. But that’s what homeschooling afforded me”.
They just celebrated their 10 year anniversary. With this decade behind her, she contemplates being in a big minority these days. “ Getting married young, you end up growing up together. By the mid 20s you know who you are as a person. Learning how to become who you are while married is challenging. Growing together but still becoming an adult. We went through some really rough stuff”. But now they’ve settled into their marriage. And at the same time growing up together meant there was no baggage. No adult past that wasn’t without each other. And that is an amazing, special bond.
They spent most of their married life in Arizona, but in the summer of 2014 Justin’s company was acquired by another company, forcing layoffs. After searching for jobs, they landed in Wenatchee. They have no family here, but have been slowly building their circle of “family” over the past 2 years. It’s been difficult not being near family, but they are thankful for his job and the new surroundings.
Just settling into their new home and getting into their groove with homeschooling they were thrown another curveball. A surprise 4th pregnancy. Sadly, it was ectopic. She had to go in for emergency surgery, miscarrying the baby and a removal of her left fallopian tube. Purely devastating.
In God’s perfect timing and His uncanny ways, Megan springily got pregnant again. The baffling thing was it was off of the left tube that I shouldn’t of been able to. The doctor said it was a medical miracle. She found out she was pregnant during the same time that her previous baby would have been born.
She’s now doing well juggling being in her 2nd trimester and homeschooling. This year, she’s a lot more confidant with teaching her oldest, Olivia. But some new challenges have arrived. Olivia was diagnosed just 2 months ago with autism. About a year and half ago Megan noticed a switch. She noticed how Piper, the younger daughter, was surpassing Olivia socially. She also has senory and auditory issues. And example being that too much noise will cause screaming into meltdown. She’s extremely high functioning side of autism, or Aspergers.
Medical people say thank you to Megan frequently for homeschooling her because the public school system isn’t set up for disabilities. “It was nice to hear them say homeschooling is the best thing for her- being there to be emotionally supportive. You don’t want to break your child because of the disability”. Olivia is also doing therapy here in Wenatchee.
Some advice Megan has for other moms, “Listen to your instincts as a mom. If you feel like there’s something more going on with your child, don’t let people tell you it is fine. Research it. Listen to your gut”. For her, the “A word” isn’t scary. It’s a gift. She was given some great perspective from a medical pro “Your child will see the world in so many different colors than anyone else. They won’t be jaded by the world as earlier on”. Megan’s slowing discovering the beauty of a special needs child. The biggest issue isn’t adult but other kids. She urges parents to start having conversations with their kids now about how kids are different. We want to prepare our children in every way, including how the view their peers.
The Fravels have found a loving community at CCHC after hearing about it from Kimberly Beason. They started in the Winter, and it’s been a great outlet for their 3 kiddos. Make sure to say hello to them when you see them at co-op next!