Monday, November 28, 2016

The Blessing of Another Birthday!

A birthday is
 an incredible blessing
but especially
when you have had
life saving heart surgery as an infant!

So when we celebrate this sweet boy...
I just want to fall to my knees and thank
our heavenly father!

Luke is the youngest of soon to be 21 kids!

excited for this birthday!

The little presents on top and the homemade cards are from the siblings at home!

Finally, he is 8 yrs old!
The same age as Grace (joining our family in December) and Joey!

For us,
our children put life into perspective.
What's really important and what's not so important.
We focus on the blessings from God
and try to filter out what doesn't need to be focused on.

Our children have spent their early years without the love of a family,
without medical care, without knowing Jesus and without being celebrated...

The children love making and giving things to each other!
Even if they are giving a toy from an old McDonalds happy meal!

They are very giving and generous, almost to a fault.
In fact we have to make a rule
that they cannot share their new toys or clothes,
pajamas or any other bday gift
until they have had it for 3 months.
Once the birthday child has read their new book, then the other kids can read it.
If they are playing with a sib and the sib wants to try out the new toy,
as long as it's okay with the birthday child, it's fine with us.

So why do we have this silly rule?
1. So our children can learn to accept a gift and understand what a gift is.
2. So they can learn how to take care of their belongings.
3. So other sibs can learn not to touch what is not theirs.
4. So other sibs don't break and mistreat others things.
5. So they understand they can say no and they don't have to say yes "just to be liked".
6. So that the pecking order(future post) does not infiltrate our home and the top dog doesn't end up with everyone's things...

It's a silly rule with good reasons!
And we have many other silly rules(guidelines) where that one came from!

Some, may think we give excessively
but we don't agree.
Our kids get 4 gifts.
Some boxes have more than one item in them
 but there is usually a theme,
such a PJ's, book and reading light.

Our celebrations are exactly what we want to do for our children.
They have missed out on a big chunk of their childhood.
We are thankful they are home now and we want to celebrate them!

They get to pick out a special cake and
maybe sometimes an activity depending upon the schedule...
We usually count that activity as a homeschool field trip or
just a family activity.

Such as Mia's day at the MOA.
(We made it clear that we went there because it was homeschool week at MOA
not because we are trying to top the next bday).

Looks like there will be some nerf fun in the basement tonight!

And why are we going out to dinner so much?
Honestly... it's because of the semi old parents are a bit too tired to cook dinner
e.v.e.r.y. s.i.n.g.l.e. n.i.g.h.t. for 16 people!

Lets face it guys, we are ON DUTY 24/7
and a dinner out allows us to celebrate with them and gives us a break!
It's a win win situation!

Birthdays are just plain fun-

And yes...
Luke got a bike, too!
This is his first

Hubby is photo bombing and Abby is doing the rabbit ears!

And of course, now everyone has to get into the fun!

We went to buffalo Wild Wings for dinner!

I am guessing he chose this spot
not bc of the amazing food but bc of the video games!

So far, we do not play video games.
Only at special occasions such as this and
they use the ipad in the waiting room for Dr appts.

Love those new teeth growing in!

If you think we do not have our fair share of challenges, you are wrong.
But throughout this challenging life God has blessed us with
 to be positive,
addressing the challenges and
not focusing on the hardships.

When I look at Luke
I am reminded of God's faithfulness.
HE is our ROCK.

We had no intention of adopting a little boy.
We were certain that we were too old to and that we would adopt just a few girls.

But that wasn't God's plan!
So thankful!

Stepping out of our comfort zone and putting
our trust in HIM...
created this!

Make a wonderful wish, sweet boy!

Yes Luke!
 I bet you do have 7 girlfriends!
You are such a charmer!

God placed this dear child on my heart and mind
after we had adopted four children.
God was clear but we questioned HIS plan.
We decided to trust him and see what would happen!

Ava and Sam came home before Luke's file was ready...
It arrived just in time and Luke and Abby came home next!
God is soooo good!

We are blessed with miracles in our home
every single day!

Little did we know that HIS plan was so much bigger and so much better!


Sally R said...

Love this and love me some Luke!!!

Zanmei said...

Love the expression on Luke's face just after unwrapping the green McDonalds toy!

Judy Deaton said...

Love you and your big crazy family!

Janet said...

We have a few pretty odd rules too. Non- adoptive families think our rules are crazy--
SO much of what we did with bio kids has been thrown out the window, and we do things totally different with our adopted 6.
Some changes may be due to age and experience, some because of what the kids have been thru.
Do what works for you!!

Jenny Leong said...

Handsome Luke and his toothy grin. His story is amazing, going to Israel for his life-saving heart surgery. Only God.

Anonymous said...

Happy 8th Birthday, precious Luke. It makes my heart so happy to see your pure joy - celebrating your special day with your family. You are such a beautiful Blessing XO

K said...

Thank you for sharing this glimpse of your family's life.

We are another adoptive family with similar rules and guidelines! Of course, there are so many people out there who don't understand and think I'm weird, crazy, over-protective (or the opposite), mean, awesome - it just depends on their perspective looking in.

I'm in a new quandary this year as we roll into the gift-giving season of many birthdays and Christmas. With so many different disabilities and abilities, some of my kids are ready for more and others are not. I've decided that I can't hold the ready-for-more ones back because of the others which is going to tip the balance in the number of gifts this year.

Last year, without much developmental progress, we didn't really need anything. This year, we've had some progress with some and not much with others, but I've learned so much more, so we're going to have a more gift-laden Christmas. But, we always focus on the reason for Christmas in celebrating the birth of our Savior, just as you focus on celebrating the life of each of your children on their birthdays and protect and teach them with your rules. One of the things they are getting are Back Jack floor chairs. My mom had them for us when we were little and I can't wait to get them for my kids. I'm not affiliated with the company in any way, but I'm excited to get them since it's one of the few things I enjoyed as a kid that I think my girls will enjoy. Also, I can arrange them where I want so there isn't the shuffling and chaos to get the "best spot" when we gather for a DVD or game.

I'm so excited for you as you prepare to welcome two more children.

Merry Christmas!

Sherri said...

Totally understand the need to make choices that leave your energy for the important things! Thank you for being brave and honest. Love your sweet family <3