This Christmas we are overjoyed and humbled to look through the eyes of Anna and Noelle as they experience their first Christmas. This time last year we were “great with child”, or should I say children. These months found us full of hope that we would finally meet our long awaited Anna Grace. Little did we know that in those same months we would give back to the Lord the gift He had given us in Noah, our fourth son. With hearts heavy with grief and glimmering with hope the Lord saw fit to bring Zoey “Noelle” into our lives. She is a gift of Christmas to us all year round! I look back on our months in China to get the girls, all seven of us in a hotel room and honestly wish I was there doing it all over again. It is and was totally worth it!
So this past year has been one of firsts, much growth, and re-learning life all over again. The most steadfast people in the whole adoption journey have been our boys. They are troopers to say the least. I have seen Jesus displayed through their lives in such significant ways. It has been so convicting. The way they have selflessly cared and genuinely loved on their sisters has never ceased to amaze me.
Josh is nine years old. I can now fit into his shoes. He leads his brothers and sisters well. He is a builder by nature and can tackle any set of instructions that you give him. This completely and totally amazes Matt and I, who do not do well with Lego instructions manuals! Josh’s heart for missions is so pure. He would lead the way back to Asia if he could. Matt and I love seeing his story unfold.
Caleb is seven years old. He finally lost his first tooth and was the happiest little fellow you have ever seen. He melted my heart when he wanted to give his tooth fairy money to children in India. He loves climbing anything he can find, loving any animal he can get his hands on, and riding his bike in the most adventurous ways possible. He continues to pray that the Lord would allow us to adopt again, specifically another child with down syndrome.
Luke is 4 years old. He is loving being one of the “big” boys. He is the first to rise in the morning and comes and gets in bed with Matt and me. We love our early morning snuggles with him. He loves (and always has) his little army men. I find them everywhere and cherish the thought of him playing with them. I know it won’t be long before I won’t find them all over our house anymore. Such a sad thought!!
Anna is 3 years old and is affectionately called our little “Walky Talky”. She bravely walked through her cleft palate surgery and has not stopped talking yet! She loves her brothers and wants to be wherever they are. She is kind-hearted and loves to help. Her favorite toy in the world is Hello Kitty- she calls it her “Meow”.
Noelle is 3 years old and is walking!!! She is climbing up and down stairs and getting into about every drawer we have. She loves bananas and bubbles. She teaches us how to enjoy the simple things in life, how to laugh for no reason at all, and how to live full of wide-eyed wonder. She is the happiest child we have ever met.
Matt and I have never felt closer together in our relationship with each other; which is such a gift because life gets crazy around our house in a matter of seconds. Matt is my best friend and favorite leader to follow. He cooks me great meals, downloads Downton Abbey for us to watch, and gives me much needed alone time when I need it. He is not yet perfect however, he still leaves his wet towel right beside the laundry basket.
I (April) am a full on homeschooling mom of five. Our classroom is far from organized, my laundry room smiles at me everyday, and the dishwasher begs to be emptied every time I look at it. But this is my time, and I know it, to grow, to be stretched, to see my imperfections, and to find peace in the chaos. I am finding how to love what I do and what I cannot do. Being able to do what I do is worth the weight of gold to me.
We are so thankful for your friendship and wish you a very Merry Christmas!!
For the family,
P.S.- In case you came away from this update thinking that we have it all together, just wanted you to know- Josh aggravates his siblings, Caleb is not very tactful, Luke and Anna fight a good amount of the time, and Noelle 5% of the time can go “angry hornet” mode on us. Matt and I have never cussed as much as we have in the last year and yet we are still one “happy, happy, happy” family. (: