Sunday, December 28, 2008

December Happenings!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2008!!!!

We are enjoying our time with the kids on break from school. Due to a snow day, they were home one day early. This meant they missed their Christmas celebrations at school and the home baked teacher gifts had to be put in the freezer. Despite this, the kids didn't seem to mind one more day of vacation.

On my birthday, December 13th, Steve and the girls surprised me with a party. Several of our friends showed up at our house after we returned from dinner to help me celebrate being 40! Steve, my dad and the girls decorated and cleaned the house while my mom took me shopping - pretty tricky, huh!?!! Steve managed to orchestrate the food preparation through my mom and his mom. What a fun surprise!!!
The weekend before Christmas we travelled to my parents where we celebrated with my immediate family. We stayed one extra night due to a blizzard. We didn't mind staying extra. There was no shortage of food or fun. It's nice to see the cousins get extra play time as well since my sister and her husband also stayed an extra night.

Christmas Eve we spent with Steve's family. Lauren played her violin and read the Christmas story. Olivia read 'Twas the Night Before Christmas' and sang Silent Night in sign language and German with Avery.
On Christmas Day we stayed home and enjoyed each other as a family. In the evening I invited my Chinese friend Penny and her son for dinner. This was quite a treat because Penny brought a Chinese dish to share for the meal. Penny doesn't have any family in the states, so we were happy to spend part of the day with her.

Today, Sunday December 28th has been a very restful and peaceful day for us. Olivia and Avery are cleaning their rooms getting ready for a play date tomorrow and Lauren is away at cross-country ski camp at Maplelag.

We don't have any news to share about the adoption but we did get a call from our Social Worker on Tuesday. This was the first time she called since we were approved in May. Anyway, she just wished us a Merry Christmas and encouraged us to hang in there and that our referral should come soon after the first of the year. Even though she didn't have any news, it was good to hear from SOMEONE at our agency.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Turning 40 and a toddler on the way

If someone were to tell me 3 years ago that I would have more children after 40, I would have told them they were crazy! After having our third child, Steve and I thought we had our perfect family. We weren't planning on any more children.

People ask me how I feel about turning 40 and although I haven't given it much thought, I do appreciate being able to celebrate another birthday. I'm thankful that I am still here and that I am surrounded by friends and family to honor me on this special occasion.

And now that I am expecting a child at the age of 40, it doesn't feel awkward to me. Maybe I don't think it's such a crazy thing because it is reality now.

Many would think we are crazy to disrupt this closely knit family. We are so blessed with our three healthy daughters. Some people are concerned about how this will affect our biological children and the roles each of them play in our family. Will this be a setback? Will this affect our daughters negatively? Why would we want to take any chances?

This adoption journey has affected our family. Our hearts are warmer because of our journey. We care more for the less fortunate because of this journey. We care less for our ourselves because of this journey. This was a chance worth taking.

Our girls are overly blessed with material things. They have all their needs met and many times get much of what they wish. Not that they aren't thankful but in many ways they get too much.

As part of preparing for our son, we can't help but stumble across story after story of those less fortunate. These stories have changed our family. This journey has been a lesson on compassion.

I'm not trying to toot my own horn, but I want to share a few examples of how my girls have changed and how they are making room for their new brother in their lives.

When I ask each of them what they want for Christmas, they each think about their brother's needs first. Olivia's letter to Santa includes money to send to Ethiopia to help the poor and a few gifts for her brother.

Avery asked for a gift card to Target to buy presents for her brother.

Lauren asked if our family could sponsor a child through Compassion International after she returned from a youth conference where they spoke about sponsorships.

They have all learned a lesson in putting somone else first.

For me, instead of hoping Steve buys me a gift card to my favorite coffee shop or surprises me with a new piece of jewelry, I don't want him to buy me anything. Well, I still am selfish in many ways but this journey has changed me.

And here I am 40 years old, still much to learn and have learned much. But without this adoption journey, I wouldn't be the person I am today, having changed little.

I like what this journey has done for our family. We are closer because of it. Our eyes are more open to the needs of this world because of it. We have more compassion because of it. And we are less selfish because of it. We are bursting at the seams with love for this child.

As much as this journey has changed us, I can only imagine the joy that is still yet to come. How did we get so lucky? Yes! This journey has been a disruption to our family. It has disrupted our selfish ways to help us refocus on what is important in life.

Dear son, if you only knew how much you have changed our lives already even before you join our family. You have made our hearts grow larger and when you physically join us, you will fill an empty place in our tightly woven family.