Thursday, December 31, 2009

One Year Ago today...

...we were on a plane to China to bring Zoey and Kate home. We had the stroke-of-midnight-moment quite a few times as we flew across one time zone after another.

The packing zone...the day we left. I have never learned to pack light. I doubt I ever will!

And soon we were transported to a place where we saw cool things like this.

And sweet friends like this.

Whose daughter's were photographed constantly in public, by admiring crowds like...


We rode the subway with "Baby," the stuffed animal from Chloe's kindergarten class.

We shopped in places like this.

We shopped here too, where the look on this girl's face cracks me up to this day.

We met sweet babies like Corrie, who need Mommy's and Daddy's to love them.

I can't believe it's been a year.

As we savor those sweet memories of China, we are preparing to send Ryan off to bo*t camp on Monday. I keep finding myself wanting to slow time make each moment last a bit longer, but time keeps churning forward.

Tonight, as we sit in our family room eating junk food, playing games and watching TV, I am so thankful for the family that surrounds me. I am thankful that I have a son...even though I have to send him to bo*t camp. There are those who don't have any children. There are those who have no families. There are those who don't have warm homes that bring comfort and shelter.

I am very, very blessed. Thank you, Jesus.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Fun

Here they come!

Since it was Zoey and Kate's first Christmas, they opened the first gift.

"Why do I have the feeling there is nothing for me under the tree?"

Zoey and Kate check out their new adoption story books

If you are drinking coffee and reading this, please swallow before you look at the next photo, to avoid spewing.

Ryan reaction to the gag gift we got him

Bedlam and chaos reigned

Time to open stockings!

Contemplating the possibility of eating his candy cane without drooling

Checking out the M&M candy cane while SaraGrace struggles with hers

"I'm coming to terms with the fact that I'm not getting squat this year."

Princess shoes

Sparkly earrings

Little girls who now have a family

Katie-bug has a new bunny to love

And Daddy has another little girl to love

Mommy loves her, too

Borrowing SaraGrace's cool velvet gloves

Zoey's turn to try them on

"Give me horsey ride, Mama."

"No, Jakie. I don't want to take a nap and I don't want you kissing me, even though Mommy wanted you to do it for a photo op."

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Love Came Down

We are less than two weeks away from Ryan leaving for bo*t camp and my heart is aching. I know I am not the only Mama who is grieving over sending her child to the milit*ry, so I pleaded with God to help me face it bravely, with peace in my heart.

He came alongside, as He so often does, with gentleness, and reminded me that He knows the pain of sending a Son away from home and out into the world.

We so often focus on the JOY of the Christmas season...the WONDER of a baby born...a baby who would SAVE the world and RESCUE us from our hopeless condition. But this year, my heart turned toward the Father...the one who waited at home while the Son went down to earth to fulfill His destiny.

  • The Father had to watch His Boy leave.
  • The Father knew that His much treasured, His Beloved, would not be received with the JOY that the Father intended. That in fact, His precious Boy would be tortured, rejected and misunderstood.
  • The Father also knew, that this was His Son's destiny. An oppressed world awaited a rescuer. There was only One who had the credentials to do it.

So Love came down.

For me.

For you.

For ALL who will receive Him.

Somehow over the years, His message has been twisted to be all about do's and don'ts. That would be the same as defining a parent only by the rules they set for their children, and leaving out all the love they lavish on them. As parents we LOVE first....we bless our kids with material comforts as is possible...and we also have some rules to keep them safe. All of those components have to work together to give our kids the best upbringing possible.

Yes, as God's children there are some rules. But His extravagant LOVE is what should stand out. A LOVE that made Him willing to send His Son to be mistreated and murdered. A LOVE that made the Son willing to suffer in our place, while being cursed and rejected for doing so.

What will you do with this amazing, wonderful, extravagant, too-huge-to-comprehend GIFT?

It is so easy to accept it. All we have to say is yes. Yes, God, we admit we need you. We admit we have sinned. We are willing to accept the gift and the heritage of adoption that accompanies it. We rejoice that there are no strings attached. We rejoice that you LOVE us to much that our feeble minds cannot wrap themselves around the concept.

Thank you, God, for the precious gift of your Son. Thank you for sending LOVE down. For me.

"For unto us a child is born, to us a Son is given..." Isaiah 9:6

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Cookies and Sugar Plums

So the much anticipated dreaded by mom cookie baking and decorating finally took place at our house this week. It was Jordan's first time being included and he was so excited.

We started with these that we had cut out and baked the day before--what a MESS!

I'm ready!

He took his duties very seriously

and carefully sprinkled each cookie

Jillian did multiple colors on her cookies--she has an artistic flair

Molly did her best to keep up with Jordan

SaraGrace's masterpieces

Let's just say, I am not the culinary talent in our house, so I force myself to go through this ritual.

Earlier in the day, SaraGrace decided to oversee an impromtu costume party with the little kids. They came downstairs dressed in various odd outfits. My picture of the five of them turned out blurry--sorry. Zoey and Kate were dressed as ballerina's and were spinning and dancing.

Are sugar plums dancing in her head? Probably not...but doesn't she make you want to join her?

Katie-bug and Zoey have too much fun together. It is so sweet to watch them. It never ceases to amaze me how God has so carefully placed each child into our family.