Saturday, December 21, 2013

Advent Calendars

Our Christmas season has been filled with an unlikely tradition. Every night, our boys ask for calendar time. I did not think they would enjoy it as much as they do. 

Our wonderful church offered 2 options for families to choose from. I was trying to decide if we would choose a family scratch off or the orphan care Advent calendar, when Aunt B showed up at our house with 4 scratch off calendars and 1 orphan care calendar.

Every night after dinner, we sit down at the table and spend time scratching. We take turns opening the doors on the orphan care calendar. Inside each door is a giving challenge to help us understand how blessed we are in America. Our kids all get to add some money to a recycled peanut butter jar. After Christmas, the money will be given to First Baptist Huntsville's new orphan care ministry. The fund is called "One Less".  One less orphan, one less broken heart, one less family worlds apart. Families in our church will be able to apply for funds to help cover adoption costs. Blessed church.

For example, last night, the challenge was to give $0.02 for each pair of shoes in our house. We had fun counting the shoes. What we learned is that our family has entirely too many shoes. 70. Our family has 70 pairs of shoes. So much of the world doesn't even have one pair of shoes. Who needs 70 pairs of shoes? That one cost us $1.40. Some other examples: we had to give money for every non-water drink we had that day... money if we had more than one pair of clothes... money if we had running water in our home... money for every window in our house... money for every person who has more than a 4th grade education...These are all things that most of our world doesn't have access to. 

Some nights our littlest two stand off over who is going to put the money in the jar first... The conversation last night went like this:

Little bit(daughter age 3): "Me no. Him first"
Bat boy (son age 5): "Me no... her first"
continue for 45 seconds.
Oldest in Polish: "Little bit, put your money in.. it is to help children with no families"

Be still my heart... this boy who has had a forever family for only 5 weeks is scolding his sister for wanting to keep the dime instead of putting it in the jar. 

This Christmas I have been drawn to the part of the story about Joseph. Joseph who adopted Jesus to be his son. Joseph is a new perspective for me as I look at Forever dad learning to parent our kids. He is incredible and the best partner to us. 

In less serious terms, our kids love Santa. They love seeing him. Our kids celebrate St. Nick's day on December 6th. Santa comes to our house to pick up their Christmas list and leaves little goodies in their stocking. Thankfully stores are not sold out of stocking stuffers at 10:00 PM on the night of December 5th. 

Last night, our oldest (still thinking of a blog name for him), wanted to dress up at St. Nick and have the littles sit in his lap. I had fun crafting a cotton ball beard and stuffing my trench on him. Little bit giggled and giggled. #2 dressed up as en elf in  the only green apperal we had: Forever Dad's green swim trunks. They are featured in the right hand side of this picture.

By the way: Little bit wants a baby for Christmas and not a baby doll. 

Saturday, December 7, 2013

The Hanging of the Green

Tomorrow is the Hanging of the Green at First Baptist Church in Huntsville. I love this special church service as we prepare our sanctuary for the coming of Christ. 

Forever Dad must travel to Tennessee to clean out his dad's home. 

I will be taking the kids to church by myself.  I am taking them because I want attending church to be a routine that sets our week off on the right foot.

Our church has been the most incredible showing of love and support to our family.  So many of our church members have sacrificed to bring our kids home. They helped us in ways we don't even know. They have given us clothes, traded us cars, changed our light bulbs, taken care of our dog, prayed for us, given us money, advice and love. 

 I know that so many people feel part of our kids lives. They have prayed for them and loved them as long as we have. With all that said, tomorrow, my children will walk into a giant room of strangers. I can imagine their anxiety will be quite high. Physical touch also escalates them. 

Tomorrow, if you see us at church, please wave and give us a friendly smile. When we wave and smile back, know that we are offering our biggest hugs and hundreds of words of gratitude to you. Over time, as we all get more comfortable,  we will be happy to offer hugs and spend time talking.

Tomorrow, we may sneak out early. We want church to be a positive and lovely experience for everyone.

Merry Christmas from us to you.