Saturday, August 22, 2015

To Gillian


There are some memories that you hope will never fade. One of these for me happened within probably the first year after Grace was home, so Grace was probably 7, Gillian 8, and Darcey 5.

Grace, Gillian, and Darcey would all stay at mom and dad's after school in the afternoons. At that time, Jana and her girls lived next door to mom and dad, so after they were through with homework, they would go there to play.

I came in the front door, finding Darcey in the living room, reading. In the next room, the dining room, sat Gillian, who was also reading.

"Where's Grace?" was my question. Darcey like to call Grace, "my girl", telling me, "My girl was in the toy room." In the toy room, I found Grace, sitting there reading.

I'm sure I looked puzzled, that instead of all 3 playing together as they usually did, they were each in separate rooms, reading.

I came back through and asked Gillian what was going on.

She calmly explained, "We needed a time out" so she had sent each child to a separate room with the command to spend their time reading.

I love this because it is so typical Gillian.

Gillian was the child who was prayed for by people all over the world. Everyone joined in prayers for Jana to have the child she wanted so badly and we all rejoiced when she arrived.

She quickly became one of a kind with a very vivid imagination, which included a husband, a baseball team, and a number of other characters in her life until she was finally blessed with a little sister, to share these experiences with.

Gillian assumed her role as big sister very seriously and when asked if she would help me, help Grace transition to her new life, she jumped at that opportunity.

Gillian, Darcey, and Grace would plan elaborate plays, musicals, and other entertainment for us for all holidays and occasions.

She excelled in all classes at school and loved participating in Destination Imagination, which just fueled her imagination.

She still loves a party and a reason to celebrate.

Today is a special day to celebrate. Today she begins her college career at her first and only choice of schools - Texas A & M.

I know she will take her love of life, her strong academic skills, and in the end we will have lots more to celebrate.

I love you Gillian and so proud of you.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

My wish for today

If I could have one wish for today, it would be to two women halfway across the world in China, that their daughters survived. Not only did they survive, but they are thriving.

They amaze me every day with

The kindness and compassion they show to each and every person, no matter their age, their race, or any other factor.

Their ability to predict the needs of those around them.

Their ability to grasp and understand and excel in subjects at school that I was never brave enough to attempt.

Their passion to learn more than just what the classroom has to offer. To want to see and learn all aspects of life, to cook, to sew, to drive, to climb, to sew, to tackle each obstacle.

Their ambition and drive at their jobs. Their frugality and their planning to achieve greater goals.

They work just as hard when they are volunteering as when they are paid. They see the bigger picture and want to help.

They are starting their last year of high school, something that probably never would have happened if they had stayed in China. They are excited about their friends, the learning, the classrooms, their teachers.

Their goals and dreams take them past the traditional schooling to a school that pushes them to learn in ways that regular classes can't, to learn the values and morals needed to guide them through life.

They are loved and they love.

I don't know why they could not remain with you, as your daughter, is what I would like to tell these women, but I have done the very best that I could in your absence. We've had our ups and downs, but the ups far outweigh the downs.

They are going to make it and they are going to succeed.

Please let this message get to these mothers to assure them that their daughters are safe and they can be very proud of them.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Father's Day - a special thank you to my dad


Today is Father's Day and anyone who knows us personally, know how important my dad is in the lives of so many, from our family to the neighborhood, to our church, to others as far away as Africa, Australia, Switzerland, and beyond.

But he holds a very special place in our lives.

When I decided to adopt, I went into it with both eyes open, but that doesn't mean I could see very well.

I was convinced that I could do all and be all to my girls and of course, I had no clue what that meant. Shortly before adopting Annabel and not very long after my sister passed away, we moved next door to mom and dad. At the time, I thought it would mainly benefit them. I had no idea how much my girls would need the love, the influence, the teaching, the camaraderie, the direction, all the things that my dad has provided to them. He is patient and kind, willing to help rescue us in a thousand situations. He never turns us down and is always there ready to listen and give help any way he can.

The picture above is one of his happiest days. Last July 4, he baptized all of these girls, all of his 2nd set of granddaughters. He continues to teach and lead in ways that are so much more important than anything they can ever learn in a class.

Thank you dad for being there for all of us.