I admit it took me awhile to get into the Christmas spirit this year, but the last two days have finally found me in the sweet spot of the joy and excitement of the season.
On Thursday, Evelea and Therese made their acting debut in their school musical. The both were amazing and the evening ended with a little snow in the air that was truly magical!
On Friday, all the kids poured out the elementary school with shouts of joy, glittered ornaments tucked into backpacks, and white elephant gifts on display. In all the exuberant hustle and bustle, there is Carter, shuffling along, muttering, "one more day". "What little buddy?", I questioned, "Sweetie, today is it! The last day of school before Christmas break!". You should have seen the boy's face light up! How he missed that it was it was the last day, I can't fathom, but it sure made me smile!
And last night Casey and I wrapped the presents. Here is a picture of my favorite one. It is the kid's present for Jesus.
I cannot wait to see what they select!
Wishing you a very Merry Christmas!
May God fill your heart with joy and peace as you ponder the greatest gift of all-
Immanuel, God with Us.
I wanted to share a few media items that will be sure to bless your socks off!
A MUST download, right?! Wow.
Here are some precious Burkinabe children singing. They live in the same orphanage Therese did. If you'd like to sponsor one of these sweeties, let me know and I'll happily get you information!
There, now my heart feels ready for Christmas.
I cannot believe it has been one year since Therese united with our whole family on American soil! One year ago today she met her father, and sister and brother for the first time. Wow. Thank you, Jesus!
Ever have a day that changes every ten minutes? You think your day is heading one way, then it abruptly heads in another direction, oops, something changes again and again.
That was yesterday. Okay, that has been everyday for the past two weeks!
Yesterday, I brought our Safe Families baby to the hospital for his pre-op appointment for his surgery on Monday. They decided to admit him for observation of his cough to see if he is strong enough for surgery.
This marks the official end of our time with our little guy. When he leaves the hospital, post-surgery or otherwise, he will go home with his mom.
We ran out of nursing hours and our home health medical supplier will no longer deliver supplies to us because the baby was not "residing in his home state".
His mom is very gracious and welcomed us to visit in the hospital anytime and even invited us to her high school graduation. I know our families will stay connected and that gives me a lot of peace.
Last night I took the kids out to dinner to begin processing our experience with Safe Families and, in particular, this baby. I asked them to rate the total experience 1-10. 1 being miserable, the entire time, and 10 was fabulous, every minute.
The kids gave replies like 1000, 1,000,000, and infinity. They said they only way they are okay with Baby J leaving, is knowing someone else will be coming.
LOVE. THEIR. PRECIOUS. HEARTS.
It's going to take me a little more processing time and about two weeks of sleeping through the night again before I'm ready to do this again, but we will do this again!
Can't wait to meet whoever God has in store for our family next!
This Christmas season I am thinking a lot about babies, and mothers, and mothers of special babies. I'm thinking about Mary, and the things she pondered in her heart.
Our Safe Families baby, is having a heart cath today, to check his measurements for the open heart procedure he will have on December 19th. He is a little weaker now than he was before. He has had two viruses and requires oxygen continually since he came down with the first virus. After he recovers from his surgery on the 19th, he will go home with his mother.
Time with our children is precious. Their physical and spiritual hearts are fragile and their futures are unknown.
But our children's hearts can be bought, won, and eternally secure.
Am I reaching my children's hearts?
Yes, I give the medicine. 3 of out of the 5 children in my home right now require daily heart medications. I wouldn't go a day without giving the labetalol or the aspirin, but do I speak truth and love and grace into their hearts each day? Do I see them growing in kindness, patience and gentleness? Is my discipline firm and grace-filled? Do they know how they are treasured by the Most High and by me?
"But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart." Luke 2:19
This Christmas season, I, too, am pondering and treasuring.
"And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him. " Luke 2:40
Lord, grow my children to be strong, wise, and grace-filled. Help me to minster right to their hearts. Help me to treasure what you treasure. Be with me as I ponder the wonder of it all.
This fact astounds me, one year ago I hadn't yet met my daughter.
Two and a half years ago, I got an email from a friend, Rona, who had information about a little girl in need of an urgent adoption. The description said something about a girl about nine years old with a heart defect that could not be fixed in her country. That is about all we knew.
That same day, I emailed the information to Casey, so "he could pray for her". Hee hee. I think he knew by that I meant pray about adopting her. But he didn't receive the email before he left work.
That same day, Casey was listening to John Piper talk about how God is pleased when we take risks with our faith. Casey walked through the door, almost visibly shaken, saying he felt we needed to take a risk with our faith now, and he was ready to adopt again.
I wasted no time showing Casey the email. He said "that's her, yes, let's adopt her".
But she is nine years old, is that too old? How serious is this heart defect? What country is she from again? Are we qualified to adopt from there? How much will it cost? How will Evelea feel about being replaced as the oldest? What if she dies before we can adopt her, or after we adopt her?
We decided to keep pursuing until God shut the door. He didn't.
About 18 months later, we brought home our daughter. She had lifesaving heart surgery three months later.
Today, Therese is the song in our home. Her laugh is the loudest. Her dance moves are unrivaled. Her smile the most infectious. She is hard working and modest. She is bold with her faith.
She is healed, cherished, rescued, adored and ours.
I am a stay at home mom of four amazing children. Two are homegrown, one is from Ethiopia and one is from Burkina Faso. Hop on the Sol Train to follow our adventures as we navigate the waters of adoption, special needs children, and modern day abolitionism. Oh, and I couldn't do all this without my incredible husband, Casey. We've been married 13 years and find our marriage keeps getting better, stronger, and more exciting the closer to Jesus we get.