Merry Christmas and Happy New Year…from our home to yours. What an eventful year it has been around our home! In February we accepted the referral for our new daughters and then brought them home in September (with many ups and downs in the process in between). We just can’t say how many times the Lord answered prayers and moved mightily. Adam spent two weeks in the DR Congo and I flew in at the end in order for us to bring them home together. It was just an indescribable experience and we are both so glad we got to go and be there in their country and culture! Adam absolutely fell in love with the country and its people and sometimes I think he is still there. We officially adopted the girls here in the states just last week, so it is all official and we are done with the process. It is such a good feeling after being in that transition mode for almost 2 years.
People ask, “So how is it going now with 5?” And we have to say that, by God’s grace, it is going much better than we ever could have dreamed – in regards to meshing as a family, bonding and overall transition. The Lord has been so kind! The girls have just fit right in. As far as noise, dirt, clutter, chaos, laundry, food consumption and just general craziness…well…that is off the chart. Here is a little “before dinner” video that I snapped of them a couple of nights ago. They can rock the house. Ha! But each one of them is precious and a delight and truly a blessing. We are so privileged and blessed to get to be a family together.
T turned 8 this year. He is the storyteller of the pack and has risen to the task of being the oldest in the family. He continues to be such a sweet little theologian and our black-and-white thinker. He is just such a precious gift…and always keeps us laughing (usually unintentionally)! M turned 6 and is our sensitive, intuitive little lady. She is so compassionate and caring of others. She is learning to be my big helper with household chores and with her little sisters. She is the one most gifted with languages and has become the interpreter for the girls language and accents. It is so hilarious and amazing how she can do it! When asked what she wanted to learn more about in the coming year, she said, “Being a mom…and more about the parts of the body.” Buzzy turned 5 this year and is our lover of “anything that goes”. He has said several times that he can’t wait until he can watch his Uncle James work in his shop. He loves to help, jump on the trampoline, and build cars and boats with his Legos. He is my early riser and is often found down in the kitchen with me while others are still sleeping. He desperately wants to learn to read like T and M, so we have been continuing to work on that. Joy-Bubble is 5, just one month younger than Buzzy and is our happiest, most boisterous and dramatic family member. She loves to play dolls, help in the kitchen, color and keep up with her new siblings. Whenever we talk about Jesus, she lights up and smiles. Her new favorite song is Jesus Loves Me and Joy to the World. She is extremely motivated to learn and is picking up English well. The three older kids love to hear her stories of life in Congo, which are told in great detail and with much drama. Little Peanut is the precious new “baby” of the family. She is very quiet and the quickest and most willing helper in the house. She can often be found doing other’s chores – which, of course, the other kids love. Ha! She can get away with just about anything with the other four kids – I guess it’s in return for doing their chores. All the kids love music, books, swimming, riding bikes, and just playing together.
I continue to educate the kiddos at home. We are still trying to find our new groove with the addition of the girls. But before that we were immensely enjoying using many of the Simply Charlotte Mason methods and ideas. It was such a welcome relief from the burden of our prior curriculum. The kids were loving school and we were having a great time. I hope to find a new enjoyable schedule to begin the new year, though I am beginning to realize that we might never get back to the tight, neat little one we used to know. Ha! But I am so incredibly thankful that the kids get to be together during this transition time for our family. Adam is continually reminding me of the valuable things they are learning as a result of being home and not scattered in different directions all day. It is definitely funny and interesting how our philosophy of home education has changed since T was in Pre-K. It used to be academics all the way. Push! Push! Push! And now we realize how little the Lord has to say about academics and how much He has to say about learning to fear Him, love others, obey authority, work hard, develop Christ-like character qualities…all pretty much summed up in the first and second great commandments. I have been struck lately by the verse that says, “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? (Mark 8:36). The Lord is teaching all of us valuable lessons!
Adam now works from home about four days a week…just another indescribable blessing for our family. It has provided me the opportunity to run errands (with only a few kids, rather than 5) or get out alone every once in a while…to run more errands. Ha! Even the support he provides by being up in his office, is really helpful. The kids love having him around and are sad when it’s a day he has to actually go to work.
I continued to experience some health issues this past year. I experienced little relief from migraine headaches, even though I experimented with various drugs to try to help. I was told by one doctor that I had Lupus. I have yet to find the time to get a second opinion on that one. Ha! Though currently I am experiencing a flare-up of whatever it is that is wrong with me…zapping me of energy and causing a lot of fatigue and joint pain. Through it all, the Lord has been kind. Adam’s ability to work from home has been a lifesaver, as well as a sweet girl that has helped us out for the past couple of months on a daily basis. And we have never been without the Lord’s sustaining grace and strength through each trial. Many times I have just cried out (begging, actually…)for him to be strong amidst my weakness.
The Lord has blessed us immensely and so undeservedly and we have so much to be thankful for (and so far to go in having that thankful spirit all day, every day, in all circumstances, all the time…) He has provided truly everything we need and beyond. We give Him all praise and glory for His presence and love. The God-man Jesus…in the manger, as a grown man, on the cross and risen are the only reason we have hope in this season or any other. Blessings to you as you begin 2013 reflecting on our Savior’s accomplished work on behalf of all who will believe.
Our sweet Christmas blessings from Africa
I have taken this annual Christmas tree photo since the kids first Christmas. And now this year, the train has grown with our two beautiful additions. (T – 8 years old, M – 6 years old, Little Buzzy – 5 years old, Joy-Bubble – 5 years old, Little Peanut – 3 years old)
And then there is dad, with his new sweeties…who love to snuggle and give kisses.