I left y’all hanging at the end of 2011 and there were some things I would like to share with you. We had Levi’s adoption finalization on November 9. The judge did a great job making it a special day. She had made a sign congratulating Levi. She brought cupcakes for all of us who who attended – there were about fifteen of us! She also let Levi use her gavel. He liked that.
He was rather confused by what we were there for. He kept saying, I am already Levi Schneider; I am already your son! He sure was, it just wasn’t quite legal in the U.S. 🙂
We laughed and were a bit nervous when the judge showed Levi a button and said to be sure not to push it because it called officers into the courtroom. I am pretty sure she has forgotten the psychology of a seven year old. Don’t say, “Don’t touch this really cool button that will make something really interesting happen.” Okay, that isn’t what she said, but I bet that is what Levi heard!! Anyway, we did keep him from pushing it, but he wanted to. 🙂
Once again we were reminded how very fortunate we are in the support that our family has. We were so thankful for family and friends who made the not so easy trek to downtown Portland to attend the adoption ceremony. We were watching a 2011 photo show at our church’s New Years Eve service and included in the photos were Kevin and I coming home from India with Levi last March. One of the photos showed a picture of all the people who came to greet us – there had to be about thirty people. It was truly overwhelming at the time to see all those people, but even after nine months seeing that photo brought back this rush of emotion and tears remembering all that we have to be thankful for.
We traveled to Medford for Thanksgiving. It was a very special time with Kevin’s family – especially because his Dad has been battling cancer. When someone you love is fighting a serious disease it really makes you reflect on life and what is important. We had a time of sharing what we are thankful for and all of us could agree how thankful we are for Kevin’s parents and for the example they have been for all of us. I so appreciate how the cousins have embraced our children and all of them enjoyed spending time together! Here is a photo of the “kids” table which includes our Kelsey who is 22 and a cousin who was married just this last spring.
We had fun decorating the Christmas tree on December 3. As Levi’s first time he was a mixture of excitement and confusion. What did all these decorations mean? There is so much to learn in a new culture!
The girls were in a Christmas musical play in December. They had so much fun practicing for that and really loved performing it. I got to watch them twice as they did two performances and it blessed my heart to see their happy faces as they sang about the true meaning of Christmas. Here they are with two of their biggest fans, Grandma and GG.
We were so thankful that Kevin’s parents were able to drive up to see their play as well as spend time with three of their four kids’ families who live in this area and celebrate an early Christmas with us. What was so exciting was the fact that Kevin’s Dad felt good enough to travel and it didn’t set him back. Praise the Lord for that answer to prayer!
It has been our experience after losing our son Grant, that there are certain times of the year that bring your grief to the surface. Christmas is one of those times. A few weeks before Christmas I was sitting in church with the three younger kids beside me, listening to their voices singing out and I was just overwhelmed with how much God has blessed us.
I think of Job and how he had lost every one of his children and how he grieved for them. In the end, God blessed him with more children and restored all that Job had lost. I have often thought about how Job must have felt. I think I now know. He would have never forgotten the children that he had lost. I am sure that as he looked around and smiled at the children God gave him after the tragedy he still had an empty place in his heart and pain for the children that were no longer there. The new children did not replace the ones he had lost. But, the presence of those children must have given him hope and filled him with awe at the faithfulness of God. Well, I don’t know if that is what Job felt, but it is what I feel. I am so blessed by the addition of our three special delivery children and thankful to my core for our precious daughter Kelsey. But, I also miss Grant beyond words. I miss how much he would have loved these new siblings and what a great big brother he would be. Levi builds a special creation with his Legos and comes and wants to show me – just like Grant used to. There is a mixture of happiness and loss in that memory.
Psalm 9:1-2 I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds. I will be glad and exult in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.