Friday, December 28, 2012


Friends, please click here to read a crucial, urgent message.  I had planned to write about the importance of this heart-breaking event in international adoption, but then I decided that Linny over at A Place Called Simplicity said it much better than I ever could.  

So many lives hang in the balance, dear friends.  So very many.  Sixty thousand Russian orphans have been adopted into American families in the past twenty years.  So many more are still waiting.  If you want to see their precious faces, just click here and scroll through the faces of waiting children.  Many of the eastern European children you see featured are in Russia, and they all may very well lose their chance at a family.  The ones with special needs will spend the rest of their lives locked away in institutions if this law passes.  The higher functioning children will be sent out to the streets at the tender age of sixteen, never to know the love of a family.  This is not right!  Are we going to stand by and do nothing?







They are waiting.

Yes, you can do something.  

Tomorrow, Saturday, December 29th.

Fast and pray.  Seriously.  Join believers around the world.  Are you too busy?  Are you too distracted?  Are you too indifferent?  Are you thinking it probably won't make any difference?  Please.  God answers prayer.  

One year ago today, Derek and I were sitting in a little office, right next to this rather strange statue, receiving the files of two beautiful, amazing little boys.  We were embarking on one of the most fantastic adventures of our lives.  Our lives, and their lives, changed forever when we received those files.  

Pray, friends.  So many children are waiting.  

Are we going to just stand by and watch this happen?  
Not on my watch, friends.  
Not on my watch.  

God places the lonely in families.  
Psalm 68:6a

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Last year at this time, we were driving to the airport on our way to meet Gideon and Micah.  We were frazzled and breathless and hopeful and anxious from a whirlwind of Christmas day festivities, last-minute packing, and trying to squeeze moments of fun and cuddling and memory-making in between final instructions, triple-checking our passports and paperwork and luggage weight.  The evening ended with heart-wrenching good-byes to the four kids we were leaving behind for three weeks, and dashing out of the house, leaving behind a mountain of wrapping paper, a table still laden with dirty dishes, and teary little faces for my dear parents to deal with.  Last year at this time, we were on a mission.  Get the boys, get them home!  I've been thinking about that today.  The urgency of the mission.  The aching in my heart, at having to leave my dear ones behind, to go gather my other dear ones up.  And on Christmas day, no less.  It was not easy.  But it was worth it.  The boys are here, celebrating their first Christmas in a family, and we all enjoyed a much slower pace and calmer mood this time around. 

Every night of December, every year, we light advent candles and read scripture and open a door on our nativity calendar.  Then every night we all sing "Happy Birthday" to Jesus and blow out the candles.  It's just one of those things.  The kids love their traditions.  And the best night of all is Christmas Eve.  On Christmas Eve we go to the Christmas Eve candlelight service at church, then we come home, pile into the barn, and do our advent stuff one last time, cuddled close and shivering in a cold barn, with only candlelight to read the Christmas story by.  The kids listen as Derek reads the nativity story, and then we all sing to Jesus until it is way past bedtime and time to crawl into cozy warm beds.  We were wondering what Gideon and Micah were going to think of this strangeness.  Gideon rocked and stimmed a bit, as he always does when he is not sure what is going on, but for the most part he really went with the flow very well.  

Micah, however, objected strenuously and at full volume, so I'm not really sure how much of the story the kids actually heard this year.  Micah does not like for things to be different.  He just takes a while to warm up to new ideas.  
But eventually, sweet boy lost steam and sulked quietly so we could finish the evening with a little less drama.  

Our finished Advent calendar:

 Blowing out the candles for Jesus:

And on Christmas morning, we awoke to a white world outside.  Here in western Washington, we don't see a lot of this stuff, so the kids were pretty excited.

 I was so happy to see that Micah decided to go with the flow this morning!  I just never know if he is going to scream and holler at a change in routine or if he is going to flash those sweet dimples for me.  Today we all won, because Micah's first Christmas was full of this impish grin:

 Gideon has the most adorable little voice, and he oohs and aahs over every little thing I ever give him.  It was so cute watching him exclaim over each item as he pulled it from his stocking.  He is so delighted to touch and smell and fiddle with every single thing in the world. 

 The kids modeling slippers and crocheted stuffed animals from Grandma and Grandpa.  They were so excited, talking about the colors and the button eyes, and slipping around on the tile, exclaiming how warm their toes were . . . I love grateful hearts that find joy in handmade gifts, don't you?

 This moment was so sweet; I just wanted to share.  Isaac has owned this RC car for ages, and Josiah, the ever-disgruntled middle child, is frequently heard grumbling that he wishes he owned a car like that.  So Isaac decided to give the car to Josiah.  And this is the moment when Josiah unwrapped it.  I'm not sure who is more excited, but I love the joy of giving that is shining on Isaac's face.  He was just giddy with glee to be giving this car to his brother.

 Micah surprised us all by actually showing an interest in his new toy, instead of just chucking it across the room.  The boy who is supposedly almost totally deaf sat and pushed buttons for about twenty minutes straight, just to hear the music play.  We don't know how much he can hear, but moments like this confirm that he really does have more hearing than we originally thought.  And he is actually playing with a toy!!!  This is huge!!!

Our big gift to the kids this year was a whole new room.  Derek and I moved out of our master bedroom and squeezed into another smaller room upstairs, and we have been remodeling the master bedroom to transform it into a therapy/play room.  It is not completely done, but definitely impressive enough to present to the kids this morning.  Here is a brief glimpse of our enthusiastic crew seeing the new space:

 I was really not expecting this:

Don't you just love that happy giggle?  
I couldn't believe he liked this!

And Gideon sat and watched this car go around and around 
for half the afternoon:

My darling Blessing was tuckered out 
after being dragged out of bed so early, 
so she napped the afternoon away.  
My girl loves a good nap.

 So today, as we are overflowing with blessings, I think back on our family at this time last year.  Scattered across the world.  Uncertain.  Hopeful.  Waiting.  I think of Derek and I, dashing out the door, on a mission.  Going, and trusting God, because he told us to go.  I think of leaving behind our precious ones, to go into an unknown place to gather up the rest of our precious ones.  And I think of Jesus, being sent into a world that was dark and uncertain.  Leaving his throne behind in order to come and rescue his precious ones.  I am rejoicing that He made that sacrifice for us today.  I am so very glad that He loved us, that He chose to adopt us, that He gave up so very much, to rescue us.  Isn't He beautiful?  
Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 24, 2012

How Sweet

 Isaac and Gideon created a replica of our house, complete with six little marshmallow gingerbread kids and two gingerbread parents.  

Gracie and Josiah went a different direction:  they created 
an orphanage, surrounded by a whole passel of kids.  
And then they speculated on whether we should start bringing some of the marshmallow orphans home to the other house . . . There's always room for more, right?  Love my sweet kids!  

Now we're off to brush our teeth . . .

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Christmas Photos, Take Two

Getting that perfect Christmas-card family photo is possible.  I keep telling the kids that, and telling myself that.  Winning the lottery is possible, too.  But you can't win if you don't try, right?  So I keep lining their adorable little selves up and clicking the shutter, and someday, someday, the unthinkable may just happen.  They may all look right at the camera, at the exact same moment, and not a single one of them will look furious, miserable, bored, or ready to flee.  
It could happen, right?