Archive for December, 2015
I have noticed over the years that my feelings toward Christmas have changed. Obviously when you are a child it is all about the presents. You can’t wait to wake up on Christmas morning to see what is under the tree. As you get older it changes, some of the excitement of the season seems to be lost. You head into your twenties and it’s much the same. You get married, have children, and some of the joy comes back. You look forward to their anticipation of those early mornings when they are so excited to see what is under the tree.
As we started our adoptions, my feelings changed even more. Our journey with Christ had become so much more meaningful and Christmas became about so much more than gifts given to others on the day of Christ’s birth.
We went a little crazy that first Christmas after adopting Ben and Maisey and then again when we adopted Lainey, Jasmine, Evie and Eli. We were trying to make up for Christmas’ missed. It was eye opening when our newly adopted kids were clearly overwhelmed by the toys. They were more interested in the food, the pretty lights, decorating the tree, and being with family. I started to think about why we shop and spend so much. Does anyone even remember it a few months down the road?
This year, I have cut way back on the decorations. I have hung pretty lights because the kids love them. I got rid of my tree with all the perfectly matched ornaments and just put up the kids tree with its ornaments strewn every where. I let them play with the ornaments. I let them mess with the branches. I didn’t put out my nativity set that is breakable. I donated many of the items I once held so dear.
We asked our middle girls what they want for Christmas. Their answer? Their brother and sister home. That’s it. They don’t want us to spend money on them. They just want Jessica and William home. When we got our LOA (letter of acceptance) they were ecstatic and said it was the best Christmas present ever.
We have cut way back on gifts for the littles too. When you buy so many toys, your house can get easily overrun. I realized this even more, a couple months ago, when I hit my limit and bagged up all their toys. I put the toys up and told them they had to show they were responsible to get them back. I told them I was tired of constantly asking them to pick them up .
They got to pick one toy back each day. As long as they put it away where it went, they would get another one the next day. After the third day, they didn’t care anymore. They each picked a hotwheel car to play with on their track, their Paw Patrol pet and one other random toy that had meaning for them. That is all they wanted. It’s all they truly needed. I noticed their free play time went way up. They were able to run more because the floor wasn’t covered in little toys. It had only been a week and they couldn’t remember what was in the bag anymore. What an eye-opening moment.
For Christmas they are going to get one big toy for the boys to share and one for the girls to share. We have implemented the one thing you want, one thing you need, one thing to wear, and one thing to read. They’ll get p.j.’s (what they need), they will get a personalized t-shirt this year (something to wear), a book (something to read), and the one big “want” item to be shared by all.
They look forward to the traditions we have started. Breakfast for supper on Christmas Eve, in our new p.j.’s, watching a Christmas movie. We have a personalized shoe box that they open on Christmas Eve that holds their p.j.s, and some treats to enjoy during the movie. These are the things they are going to remember. They may or may not remember what toys we bought, but they will remember these times spent together as a family.
I’ve been thinking a lot about this this year because so many people have asked me “Are you done with your Christmas shopping yet? I bet it takes forever. Wow! I can’t imagine how many presents you have bought.” When I tell them I am done with presents because we keep it very simple, they think it isn’t possible. The reality is that these past two years have been the easiest shopping years ever. We truly have simplified. We don’t worry about the biggest, newest gadgets and out doing anyone else. We are keeping it simple and that in turn keeps our minds where they should be – on Christ!
Give more of yourself this Christmas. People would rather have your time than a gift. Just ask your mama. She doesn’t need a new coffee pot or the newest gadget, she wants time with you. This is why I love the phrase that Love Without Boundaries has implemented this holiday season “Love in Action”.
I tell my children this all the time. Love is a verb. Love requires doing. Words are cheap. Your actions speak louder than words. What are your actions saying about what you love and value at Christmas?
Help an orphan in need.
Take a meal to a neighbor.
Purchase a gift from an Angel tree or for Toys for Tots.
Spend time with someone who feels alone.
Serve a meal at a local mission.
Support a family that is adopting or fostering.
Shop for someone who is shut in.
Brighten someone else’s day.
The list of verbs is endless.
Give of yourself.
Find the true meaning of Christmas.
From our family to yours – Merry Christmas!
One of the fun things you get to do, as a family that is waiting, is send care packages to your child. After a certain time in the process, your agency will allow you to do this. The agency will send you the address and you are allowed to send small toys, clothes, and other items. We have always enjoyed doing this, spending time shopping for just the right gifts to hopefully show we care. We love trying to guess what their personality is like and find just the right gift.
The problem is that none of our children, except Jasmine and Maisey, have received their gifts. I have no idea why they never received them. They may have been lost in the mail or customs or maybe someone took them. I don’t know but it is frustrating just the same. Jasmine was the only child who came with any of the stuff we gave her. We received Maisey’s disposable camera 2 1/2 years later from Show Hope when they found it at the orphanage in a drawer. We had no indication that Maisey had received anything else from us.Its frustrating because you send pictures and letters. You want them to know your family and be prepared, at least a little, when they meet you. You take the time to pick out those special gifts and hope that they feel the love you are sending.
Today Jasmine mentioned the letter than Dan had sent her. She was talking about how much it meant to know that her daddy loved her and thought she was beautiful. (Jasmine’s Letter)She said she reread that letter over and over again as she waited for us. Elyse said it must have been nice to get a letter like that. It was then that I realized Elyse never got our care package. We had sent her jewelry, hair accessories, clothes, toys, and tons of pictures and letters from everyone.I never even thought about it when we met her because Elyse did come with her locket and some of our family pictures. That locket and those pictures were hand delivered by another adoptive mama who had just adopted her daughter. I am thankful that there are other adoptive parents who are willing to ask for and carry items to the children who are still waiting. Thank you Krista for doing that for us. If you are adoptive parents who will travel soon, put the message out in the families of _____ orphanage Facebook groups. I’m positive other parents will appreciate it too.Luckily, Dan had typed the letter and it was still saved on his computer. Today his little girl got to read how much her daddy loved her before he even met her. He told of falling in love with her sweet face when he saw her picture for the first time. He told her how much he loved hearing her sing and how he couldn’t wait to get her home to be his daughter forever. She cried reading these words. Her foster father didn’t treat her well. She thought she deserved this kind of treatment until she met Dan. She had no idea that she should be adored and loved just for who she is. She couldn’t grasp the unconditional love of a father when we adopted her. Elyse knows what that means now and this letter is just one more thing that proves she has always had worth and she will always be loved.I have heard that the orphanage that Jessica is in is hit or miss with packages. Some people have said their child came with pictures and their items and others have said that their child said they never, ever received the package. It’s so frustrating because I would love for her to know we care about her. I would love for her to know what we look like and be prepared for her new family.
I wish I knew the rhyme or reason behind why some get them and some don’t. I know there are orphanages who wait until right before the child is adopted because they have been burned before by a family backing out. I can’t imagine what that would do to a child’s heart. How horrible to wait for that forever family you heard you had, who never, ever showed up for you. So I can understand the orphanage wanting to be careful. I can understand somethings getting lost in the mail, but 6 out of 8 packages never making it are pretty bad odds.I think I may just take the chance that our children will get their packages. I will pray that if they don’t get them, then the person who does get them feels all the love that went into the package and will have their lives changed by it.Wish us luck. Maybe say a prayer or two that our newest family members actually do get their gifts so they know that they are loved and have a forever family that will be there soon.
- Chinese Children Adoption International
- Hats for Gracie
- Love Without Boundaries
- New Hope Foundation China
- Show Hope
- China 2013
- China 2014
- China 2016
- Congenital Heart Defect
- Evangeline Faith
- Family Life
- Food for Thought Friday
- Jasmine (Shuang Shuang)
- Jasmine's Dream
- Lainey Rae
- Love Without Boundaries
- Making a difference
- Muscular Dystrophy
- Orphan Care
- Thoughts to ponder