Friday, December 14, 2012

A Time To Reflect On An Amazing God Filled Year!

I'm having a bit of trouble getting the Christmas cards done or even started for the matter!
Katie ordered them in October and here they sit...
waiting for me to write the addresses and send them.
I'm thinking this will be our last year of Christmas cards (maybe)? With so many little ones the cards are just not a priority for me.

We have also lost our family baker, she moved to Germany(that would be big sis Katie!). 
Soooo, NOTHING is baked yet...

The decorations aren't up either...

Oh my!

There's a theme here...hmmmm!

Well don't worry- we plan to get the tree and do the decorating this weekend!

Baking will begin this weekend too!
The cards- yes yes yes- I will get to those, too.
(I hope!)

We wrote the letter to put in the cards and had to revise and revise and revise.
We decided to make it short and sweet instead of actually telling people what has happened this year.

I would have loved to have shared God's goodness with everyone
to be honest this year has been
putting it on paper
just didn't do it justice
we felt it could be taken wrong.

When I first wrote it I cried...
I couldn't believe what a year it has been.
The miracles and God's blessings seemed to come one after another.
After crying I was speechless.
I looked at hubby and said
"Can you believe all that has happened this year?
Wow! What an amazing year!"

December 2011
Answered prayer- Luke became our son.
Flew home from China with Abby and Luke 5 days before Christmas
Brought home 4 children in 2011- set a record for our agency!
Abby had a blood transfusion within 2 days of being home
Somehow pulled off the holidays smoothly! Thank you Jesus!
Johnny turns in all college applications.
Dear friends husband passes away- very very sad.

 Recovering from jet lag and going from one hospital visit after another for Abby, Luke and Sam.
Abby's 6th birthday!
Abby has a echo cardiogram(heart looks great-praise God) and liver ultrasound (liver does not look good but that's okay because the liver can regenerate itself)
Chinese New Years Party with play group!
Sam has a colostomy taken down and circumcision.
Processing college opportunities with Johnny.

Andrew (our new son in love) ask for our permission to marry Katie! He meets us at Children Hospital the same day Abby has a bone marrow biopsy and major dental work done.
Katie and Andrew get engaged!
Abby and Luke are baptized.
Sam is recovering from his surgery.
The hunt for the wedding dress begins!
Luke has tests for an upcoming open heart surgery
Abby has a port put in her chest and starts Chelation process- every 2 weeks they access the port for 48 hours and give her medication to rid her body of excess iron from monthly blood transfusions.
Processing potential colleges with Johnny

Luke has major dental work done and circumcision.
 Sarah's birthday, she turns 12!
Katie and Andrew find a church and a venue for the reception for their wedding in 4 months - amazing!
Billy's birthday.
Abby's diagnosis is reconfirmed- MDS and posible Leukemia in the future.
Meet with the U of MN bone marrow transplant group.
Begin the search for a bone marrow donor.
Get a dress for the wedding.
Find a pic of an adorable older child... talking about adopting her.
Luke has open heart surgery
Busy planning wedding with Katie- get a wedding planner- whew, praise the Lord!
She actually was booked but then the wedding for that day was moved- what a blessing!
We have the most amazing March- weather wise!
Johnny finally decides which college to go to 1 day before the deadline!

Luke is recovering smoothly! He is much more active than pre- surgery.
Anna's birthday, she turns 6!
Find a 5 of 6 pt match for Abby for BM transplant. 
Easter celebration
Start adoption process with new agency.
Get pre approval for our Mia!
3 children learn to ride a two wheeler (thank you Brenda and Keith)!
Go to wedding shower with Katie and Andrew where Katie works!
Order new curriculum for next school year
Andrew's birthday
Mark's birthday
Order little girls dresses for the wedding
After working straight out of college for two years 14 hours a day including weekends- Billy quits his job. It was a really good, high paying job but he felt like it was sucking the life right out of him.
Thinking of my Mom and wishing she was here for the wedding. knowing she is with us in spirit.
Emma and Ellie have their first communion!
Anna and Ava's dance recital- absolutely adorable!
Continuing to plan wedding- lots of meetings and work to be done.

Go to Washington DC with Katie and Andrew to meet Andrew's family- we love 'em!
Mother's day
Take Luke in for his follow up appt- surgery was very successful! He has a normal life span and normal activity level!
My birthday
Working on our homestudy.
Billy is processing what carrier direction to go in- he has some feelings of regret but not really.
Sam is out of pull ups and into underwear! He is doing a great job at managing his bowel control!
More wedding things- final decisions made.
My best friends put on a lovely wedding shower for Katie!

Johnny graduates from High School
Finish homeschooling for this year.
Mark graduates from college- go to Denver for ceremony and celebration. Mark looks so thin- we are a little concerned.
Attend many high school grad parties this month.
Sam goes swimming for the first time without a colostomy- he is so happy!
Find our daughter Melissa on our new agencies waiting child list. Almost pass her up BUT then realize she is our daughter!
Apply for I800A- part of adoption process.
Billy is considering going back to school and processing future job options.
Finishing all wedding decisions and finalizing plans for the event.
Katie borrows our SUV to move some things and parks it in front of her building- all the wheels are stolen...
Ava's birthday, she turns 7 years old!
Abby has second liver MRI.
Getting nervous for wedding- can't let anyone know- praying, praying, praying and putting all my trust in God!
Wedding festivities begin at the end of this month!

The time has come for the wedding festivities!
Abby accidentally pulls out her IV in her port- blood all over and a home care nurse has to come to the house- one hour before Andrew's family and our family have a party at our house.
Wedding shower for Katie put on by her Aunts - it was wonderful!
Grooms dinner- fun, fun, fun!
Wedding day arrives!
Feel GOD's presence- it's an amazing day! Few things go wrong BUT miraculously it all falls into place! Feel such peace inside! Saw a rainbow and know our 4 parents are present in spirit at their wedding!
Family all together one last time the next day for dinner.
Katie and Andrew move to Germany 2 days after the wedding- tears flow.
We get results from Abby's liver MRI- Her iron levels are down a little. Not as much progress as we had hoped...
Find out that a little girl who had a family is now going to be back on the waiting list- ask Lifeline is we could adopt 3. She shares a diagnosis with one of our other new daughters.
Mark has been sick with an unusual illness and decides to move back to MN from CO.
China says YES- we can bring three children home! Work on paperwork immediately for her!
Emma's turns 12 and Ellie turns 10- go to Nicklodeon at MOA!
Have Johnny's Grad party with a two other families.
Preparing to start new school year.
Trying to wind down for the busy pace but it's hard to find some kind of new normal.
Focusing on enjoying the summer.
Really missing Katie and Andrew

Abby has a second bone marrow biopsy- all info is sent to Boston children's hospital for back up diagnosis.
Mark is diagnosed with allegies to antibiotics- we were thinking it was something much worse  - praising GOD!
Start Homeschooling again- have 3rd, 1st and preschool going.
Johnny goes to college.
Billy decides to go back to college. He enrolls at the U of M and plans to get his masters in taxation.
Mark decides to go back to school and is considering a career in Medicine, he needs to raise his undergraduate GPA in order for it to work out but he is very motivated. He is taking a strong interest in our families medical needs and has been very helpful with our many Dr appts.
Ava diagnosed with HSP (through a emergency room visit)
Dossier goes to CHINA!!
Katie is homesick and Hubby cannot go to Germany as planned so I go alone, sooner than originally planned.
Have an amazing time with Katie and Andrew!!
Miss Sam's birthday ;-( he turns 6. They had fun celebrating it. We have another party as soon as I get home!
Johnny's college soccer season is in full swing. 

Dossier is logged in China!
Luke is potty trained!
Andrew is deployed- it was very sudden and unexpected. Katie is new to all this so she is trying to cope the best she can.
Ava sick with HSP off and on throughout the month.
We go to all of Johnny's soccer games with kids- we all dress in purple!
Anna has her palate surgery and spend 2 nights in the hospital.

It doesn't look like Andrew will be home soon so Katie flies standby and makes it home!
Johnny's  19th Bday.
Mark becomes very involved with "Be the Match"- the organization the educates others to be bone marrow donors. 
Go to Abby's monthly transfusion and talk to the Hematoligist... Abby has been rediagnosed... Our God is amazing, the prayers of so many have been heard! Thank you Jesus! Abby does not have MDS, she has congenital siderblastic anemia- leukemia is not lurking! She will still need a bone marrow transplant to be cured but we are not racing against time. Tears of joy!!
Matt and Caitlin are ENGAGED!!! We have another wedding in our future!!
Mia's birthday - our older daughter waiting in China(gifts sent)
Madeline's Birthday- our youngest daughter waiting in China(gifts sent)
We get our LOA!
Love having Katie home for this month!
Ava in the hospital with HSP. Supposed to go to Denver to meet Caitlin's parents but have to delay it by a day because Ava is in the hospital. Leave on Saturday to and have a wonderful day with Matt, Caitlin and her parents!
Sunday at noon as we were driving to meet up with Matt, Caitlin, Dan and Deb we get a call from Johnny- rush to the airport, to get home asap. Big brothers take Johnny to the ER- he has a concussion and bruises. An upper classman got out of control and Johnny got "beat up"...
He spends the week at home healing and then returns to school.
The children celebrate Halloween.

Katie goes back to Germany. She seems more confident and refreshed- praising God!
Emma and Ellie have another neuropsych appt. 1.5 yrs after their first one. The results were not good. My heart is very heavy.
Abby has 3rd liver ultrasound.
Adoption processes moving along. Realizing we may travel in January- yikes- gotta get ready! Start planning rooms and clothes... oh my, so many clothes to go through...
Melissa's Birthday- middle daughter waiting in China(gifts sent)
Luke's first birthday at home- he turns 4 yrs old!
Jim and Matt's birthday.

Andrew returns to Stuttgart- praise God! Katie is so happy to have him home!
Results from Abby's liver MRI are in- her iron levels are really going down! Praising God!
Christmas party with Families with Children from China playgroup.
Christmas shopping and planning the holidays for a large family.
Continuing to prepare for traveling to China and bringing home 3 girls!
Hubby lets me know that he will be able to travel to China with me - whew, thank you Jesus!
Looking back at this year... absolutely amazed by God!
Hubby and I go to Florida for 4 days! Thank you Jesus for that time together!

Now you know why I couldn't write all that in a Christmas letter...
It's too long...
It's too amazing...
I would have lost people by February!
(In fact I may have lost you in one of the months!)

With all that was happening, normal life was continuing on- homeschooling, activities, events, Dr appts
and so on...

It is so obvious to us that the Lord has carried us through this whole year. This is all beyond us and HE has made it possible. He has shown us the way. Every step was done through him. I knew he was asking us to step out in faith with our adoptions and with the medical needs but I never expected these result in just this year.

I am emotionally exhausted just writing this...

We are praising and thanking our Heavenly Father.

Now- in the time it took me to do this post I could have finished all my Christmas cards!

I can't forget to ADD in 
January 2013
as 3 more treasures will have a forever family and we will become a family of 20! (counting us, the parents, a son in love, a soon to be daughter in love and 16 children)



Sue said...

You did a wonderful job recapping the whole year....I can't wait to join you in 2013 on this wonderful adventure.

likeschocolate said...

After reading this, I hadn't realized all the challenges your family has gone through this past year. Wow! I am amazed! I now feel like I need to step it up. We are in the process of adopting too. We haven't been matched yet, but I am excited. Merry Christmas!

Laurel said...

Rejoicing with you over ALL that the LORD has done!

In January we will become a family of 20 . . . when our 2nd grandchild arrives. Papa & Mama, 12 kids, 4 sons & daughters-in-law, 1 grandson and another grandson due in January (with a 3rd grandchild due in June).

May your December be BLESSED. Don't worry about all that you do not accomplish, but rejoice in all that you do accomplish.

Laurel :)

Angie said...

What a beautiful blog. I hope you make this into a book so your kids can look at it time and time again. I"m in process of doing that instead of scrapbooking. Much faster! But...I did burst out laughing at the suv with no tires. In the midst of all the lovliness...that cracked me up!

megadog said...

I loved reading about your year. What an amazing year you have all had. Now you have it written down forever and won't forget all the beautiful and wonderful things that have happened this year. Thanks for sharing. IT was fun to read.

Jboo said...

Wow -- what a year! You have a pretty amazing family and so many blessings! Merry Christmas!


Shonni said...

What an awesome year!!! Praising the LORD with you!!!

Jennifer P said...

"Not a saint, just a vessel" is what I usually say to others when they exclaim over our large family. You are an amazing vessel, Jean, being used by the Lord in many ways. Thanks for the recap and adding in some details about your bigger kids. Life launching your kids doesn't mean you are done parenting, I am quickly learning. What a great post putting your whole year together. You will never regret the time it took to do that. And the rest? Does it really matter?

Sammy said...

Well, I thought I was good until I read yours. LOL You blow me away.

Nancy said...

Love you Jean and family!

Chris said...

If you put all that in a Christmas card you'd need extra postage! But maybe you need to write a book.

Annie said...

WOW!!!!! Jean, I am exhausted just reading that - and praising the Lord for you and your wonderful, precious, busy but blessed family!!!!

Sophie said...

God bless you, I don't know how you do it!! You are seriously a super hero!!

And you have one of the most gorgeous families ever!!

Judy Deaton said...

What a year! I thought I was busy adding two five year old daughters and 2 new daughter in loves... making our family a total of 10. I have to laugh...your family is double what mine is! I really need those organizational tips from you;) Have a blessed Christmas! Can't wait to follow your journey to the next 3 blessings.

Karin said...

Wow...Jean!!! So amazing what God has done through you this year! I'm so glad you shared it because I haven't been able to read blogs daily like I used to and now I can hit the high points of your year.