Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!

It seems like it's not possible that 2008 starts tomorrow. It will take me at least until March to get used to writing 08 instead of 07. I have declared 2008 the YEAR OF HOPE. 2007 was an interesting year - not anything like I would have expected. I honestly thought back at this time last year that surely we would have our baby by now. We were living quite happily in our old schoolhouse and had our nursery all decorated. Chris found a great new job close to home that he started in January 2007. I finished up my first year in the DeForest schools and finally, didn't have to look for a job. Chris had surgery on his nose just before my 30th birthday. I was taking classes at Edgewood College to finish my ESL certification. Our approval went through with the adoption agency and we were officially on the list. We attended several adoption classes and were hoping things would happen soon for us.

As you know, in August - things went a bit nuts....some by our own choice and some not. We got this crazy idea in our heads to look for a new home and found one with 3weeks of serious looking. At the same time, we got the call about Daniel. We were preparing for a move, driving back and forth to Milwaukee, and beginning preparations for some time off at work. By Thanksgiving, as you know, we had moved, and Daniel had gone home as well.

As I sat around the Christmas table with my family this year, we were rejoicing that all 8 of our family could be there. My grandparents are getting older, and we treasure every year we have with them. I HOPE for 9 around the table next year. Chris hopes for 10, but we won't go there!

In 2008, I expect great things. We have jobs that we enjoy and are secure. We have a wonderful new home to make our own. I'm finished with my classes through Edgewood, and finished with a 4.0. We're still on the list at the agency. Things could happen quickly, as they did before, or unfold more slowly over time. I'll take whatever comes, hopefully with joy in my heart, though maybe not always a smile on my face. I have wonderful friends, an incredible church family, and the best family and family-in-law one could ask for. Blessings abound already, but even if I never receive any more, the joy of knowing Jesus is enough.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Miracle of Christmas

I was thinking about the Christmas story this last week. It's about a birthday, right? Jesus's birthday. But He's God, so he didn't really need a birthday. So why on earth would we celebrate a birthday, and why did He have one in the first place?

Well, as one of my favorite Christmas songs says "WE are the reason" - His birth was about more than shepherds and wisemen, Mary, Joseph, and the angels. He came so that 33 years later He could die. But why? I understand celebrating a birthday, but celebrating a death? Certainly we honor a person's memory when they die - but celebrating death? That seems wrong....

But try this - His death was about a birthday.

Do you remember that midnight conversation Jesus had with a man named Nicodemus? It's the famous verse we all know "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him, shall not perish, but have eternal life." Jesus explained to Nicodemus what being "born again" meant - essentially to have a second birthday - being born as a child of God...

Or to put it into terms that are dear to me - to be adopted into God's family. You see God's been in the business of adoption all along. Just as a baby or child comes to their true, forever family to be loved, cared for, and protected, when we choose to be born again, we come home to our forever Father. We leave behind our sinful, incomplete, imperfect selves, and become new - like Him - we take on the characteristics of our Father. Adopted children may not look like their families, but they can certainly take on personalities and character traits. It's the same with us when we are adopted into the family of God.

So as we celebrate His birth this Christmas, it means more than that to me. I celebrate His birth because it made a way for me to be adopted into His family and into my forever home in Heaven. I celebrate His birth because it led to His death. I celebrate His birth because He gave His all for me.

God knows how it feels to give a child up - and He knows how it feels to welcome new children into His family. He knows how it feels to wait for something. He knows how it feels to grieve. He knows the overwhelming joy of finally seeing that child face to face.

I wish you blessings this Christmas - and the miracle of finding a reason to celebrate. Whether Christmas is an easy time for you or not, rest assured that God knows and sees your situation, and He understands and cares. The joy of His Son's sacrifice is that we can know Him and offer our cares to Him to carry on His shoulders.

Merry Christmas and a most Blessed New Year!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Daniel (8/24/07 - 11/20/07)

Heard from our social worker today. Daniel was taken off of life support on Nov. 20th and passed away a few hours later. His birthmom was able to be with him, as well as members of her family.

We will always remember this precious little boy who gave us our first taste of parenthood. I hope to share his story with our children someday, as a beautiful reminder of the faithfulness of God. And, someday, I'll be in heaven, and that young man will walk up to me and hug me and thank me for being his mama for a few weeks - it doesn't get any better than that.

Once again, thanks for all of your prayers and support - they sustain and encourage us.