Yesterday a "crystalized moment" turned into a crystalized day. We woke up to the first snowfall of the year. It was minimal, but when you have three young children there isn't a way to wake up more excited. The kids ran out for a round of snow angels in pajamas.We then got to experience National Adoption Day very personally. We went to the courthouse to watch Gage and Jude officially become Ellis'. Some of us were running late so the judge bumped the Ellis' to last in the group of adoptions that hour. It turned into a big blessing as we tend to cheer loud and take up the entire courtroom. There was a small prayer team of women in the front row quietly praying for each family as the papers were signed. You think of traditional celebrations; birthdays, weddings, the birth of a child... and this ranks with all of these. It was a unique, exciting time for our entire family.
That's right...our entire family. My parents, my sister and her husband with their now 5 children, my two brothers, their wives and kids, and my own family equaled 21 of us in the courtroom (11 being children between 2 and 6yrs.). Since we were the last in the courtroom, we were able to take our first ever group picture with some courtroom folks as photographers!
We attend a church that believes in taking care of orphans and backs it up with a foster/adoption support group called His Kids Our Homes. They were instrumental in making National Adoption Day a party at the courthouse. We got to enjoy treats, snacks, coloring for the kids, and an amazing "balloon man" who whipped out 11 creations for each of our kids. No one wanted to leave...and you can't often say that about a courthouse!
Since we all like a good party and any excuse to be together- we added on a birthday party for my nephews James and Cliff. All 21 of us trekked to the "Fun Zone" which is actually a warehouse full of bouncy houses. The kids got hot, sweaty, and crazy while the rest of us caught up and debriefed on our morning.
The saying "it takes a village to raise a child" is right on. In my own life I have often received counsel, encouragement, and yes- even discipline, from my aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins. They have shaped me significantly. Now watching my boys wrestle with their uncles, listening to Hudson very seriously suggest to my sister that all the boy cousins live at one house and all the girls live at another house, and then having Everett cry half the way home because he wanted to ride with Pake and Beppe to their house... not only makes me happy but helps me shoulder my responsibilities. Jasmine, in thanking our family for our support, shared about the realization that when she inevitably fails in her role as a mom (her words- not mine!) her kids also have grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins that can be there to make sure they are raised right.
There's one more big benefit to busy, we-have-11-small-children-in-this-family days: really good naps once we get home.