Hello bloggy friends,

It is my desire to post more frequently than I do, but-- goodness!  Life with the kids is just so full... and sweet... and I don't want to miss a minute of it.

We are doing great.  Ella is nearing her eleventh birthday and I just love that girl to pieces.  What a delight she is!  Isaac just turned nine, is currently reading the Redwall series and chatting all about it when he's not reading.  Isaias is as active as always- loving outside time and doing great in school this year-- I'm so proud of his growth from last year to this year.  Adelia simply does not stop.  Ever.  Moving or talking or shrieking.  She's a hoot.  Audra is chatty and never far from her dollhouse and rarely without a baby in her arms.  Mark is working a TON right now- lots of long hours in the cold and dark these days and we are so thankful for his hard work to provide for our family.  I am... knitting and making meals for our family and others and schooling our kids and trying to keep up on the laundry and the housework and forgetting to plan meals and loving Jesus and just truly thankful for it all.

We are winding down to our Christmas break.  Just two more days of school and we have the whole month of December off!  (Hooray!) 

{ The nativity set on the right is one we purchased when we were in Guatemala, adopting Isaias.  Oh, and the cute bunting? That's from Sara's super-cute Etsy shop. }

{ Our mantel.  Hooray for the wreath~ thank you, Jobes! }

{ I love the concentration of ornaments all in one section when the kids are decorating.  Cuteness. }

{ We seem to be missing someone.  I bet Audra decided to take baby Jesus to her room. }

{ Remember this idea?  I have been looking forward to implementing this ever since I read this post.  I wrapped up all of our Christmas books and we'll start opening one per day, beginning December 1st right up until Christmas Day.  Except for that I'm short 4 books.  But that's okay.  It just means I'll get to sneak in a trip to the used bookstore sometime in the next week or so and slip in 4 new books, which will be fun.}
Speaking of books, we've read some great ones this year and I want to put together another list.  Soon.  We also SCORED at the thrift store recently in the book department and I can't wait to take a picture of our goods and post that.

I hope you are all well!

Blessings to you and yours,

Four years ago...

[Yesterday marked the 4-year anniversary of Adelia's adoption being finalized.  The following is a post from the archives.]

But first, Adelia today:

This girl adds so much exuberance and joy (and noise!) to our family.  We are so thankful for His gift of her to us!


A few things are happening on the adoption front.

For the adoption of this dear girl:

[Who is just so cute I can barely stand it. And who, several times a day, has me thanking God for the wonderful privilege of getting to be her mama. She is pure delight.]

So. Where was I? Oh, yes. Things are happening.

Following our last update, things were quiet for a bit. Then- about a month and a half ago- we received a stack of adoption finalization papers that we weren't quite sure how to fill out. [We aren't familiar with the legal lingo, the fees, etc.] At the same time we were puzzling over our paperwork, our agency was going through some issues (our caseworker left; they were short-staffed), so we weren't able to progress.

Two weeks ago we met with a [new] caseworker who walked us through some of the questions we had regarding the adoption paperwork. We are now in the filling-out-the-paperwork process. We have a checklist of things to do: Mark and I need to get updated medical approval from our doctor, Adelia's pediatrician needs to fill out some forms, we need to give information detailing our current financial status, I have to fax some background clearances to our caseworker. Thankfully, our fingerprints are still good so we don't have to jump through that hoop again. We have hired a lawyer and are proceeding with all of these details. We've been told that the adoption could be finalized as early as November. November.

Last week we received Adelia's state file- officially called a "disclosure"; which is a record of all that the state knows about Adelia. I read about her history (most of which we know, obviously), as well as her birthmother's history (some of which we did not know).

Within that file are all the court documents, too, surrounding her case. I skimmed the file in its entirety, and there was one document that stopped me cold, that brought the tears in earnest. It was the document, dated a couple of months back, whereupon the court terminated the birthmother's rights. In that document, it says:
ORDERED, ADJUDGED and DECREED that said child is hereby declared to be a dependent child [of the state]... and under the permanent jurisdiction of the court, and that [birthmother] no longer retains parental rights and all rights, powers, privileges, immunities, duties and obligations, including any rights to custody, control, visitation or support existing between [birthmom] and the child are severed and terminated, and [birthmother] shall have no standing to appear at any further legal proceedings concerning the child...

I am crying again as I type that out.

It is just so final.

So permanent.

So- over for this struggling mother who birthed this beautiful girl. As much as I yearn for Adelia to belong to us, my heart grieves over the fact that Adelia's birthmother will never know the joy of having this beautiful girl belong to her.

She will never know this precious girl. She doesn't get to see how she beats her little legs and grasps her chubby fingers into fists, a wide smile on her face, when mama bends to pick her up in the early mornings, all for the sheer joy of seeing that face so dear and familiar to her. How she scrunches up her little nose and grins. The way she listens so attentively during worship, or when music is playing, and hums along her own soft song. The way she leans her head in, wraps her brown little arms around mama's neck, and snuggles close with a good morning or a good night hug. The way she delights when her toes are kissed. She hasn't seen her beautiful black head of curls or felt the softness of her skin. She won't get to see her take her first steps or say her first words. She won't know her likes and dislikes, the characteristics God has given her, the woman she will become.

All these joys of motherhood, they could have been hers, but she has missed them all.

It shouldn't be so.

And yet- it is so.

And because it is so, the final line in that court document applies to us: ORDERED, ADJUDGED and DECREED that [the state] has the authority to place said child for adoption...

We get to be that adoptive family.

And my heart is near-to-bursting at that news, but the joy of it is mingled with a deep sadness for all Adelia's birthmother has lost.