Ryann is 10

Dear sweet smiley Ryann,

You are 10 years old today. I remember bringing you home from the hospital. I remember sitting on our living room couch in Brooksville and having this overwhelming sense of protectiveness over you. You weighed a pound less than your big sister (only because she stayed in an extra 2 weeks!!) but you seemed so tiny. You were such an easy going baby. You slept great, you cried very little, you just were happy and you loved your big sister and she loved you. There was never any sibling rivalry and I can say that is true even now. You look up to Micaila and recognize that y’all are both different and God has made you both unique with varying strengths and weaknesses and you are totally comfortable with how God has made you.

People come up to me often and tell me how beautiful my girls are and of course I 100% agree but the thing that I am most proud to tell them is that my girls are sweet. You are kind, thoughtful, and generous. When Caleb came along you were 4 years old and you just loved him so much. You wanted to read to him and hold him and take care of him. Now we have two more little guys and all through out fostering you have been such a tremendous help to me. And growing more helpful every day, taking more and more initiative.

Ryann you are artistic, silly, fun, happy, thoughtful and tender hearted. I love how God has wired you and look forward to all the ways he wants to use your gifts to further his kingdom.

We have made a lot of sacrifices lately as a family. Sometimes it’s hard and uncomfortable. You and Micaila are old enough to understand that following Jesus is more than just saying you believe He exists but actually surrendering all to Him, whatever He asks, whatever the cost. But when we understand what He did for us, the sacrifice seems so very small. God created us for himself and he sacrificed his Son to secure our eternity with him if we choose Him. I pray you will choose Him. That every day of your life you will fight hard to choose Jesus. The world can be captivating. Satan is constantly out to deceive us and our flesh is naturally inclined to pursue selfish desires and selfish gain. “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.” Proverbs‬ ‭14:12‬ ‭NIV‬‬ Ryann, it’s always been my prayer that my children would grasp early on the depths of the gospel and passionately pursue Jesus.

We love you Ryann. Oh how I love you and can’t imagine our family with out your precious spirit. You are a gift. Happy 10th Birthday.

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Thankful for bedtime

So I’m laying in my bed…. Jason had to work late, the girls are still in Florida and I got my buddy Caleb next to me watching Team Umizoomi way to late. I’m reading my new book Confessions of an Adoptive Parent by Mike Berry. I just started it and already feel so encouraged and hopeful.

I don’t know why this struck me just now, maybe it’s the book, “Confessions….” and I felt compelled to write about it but I am SO THANKFUL for bedtime. With our two little guys that is. And let me tell you why.

I love bedtime because on most days it’s the only thing I feel confident I have done right and well.

We have our routine. We get jammie’s on, we read books, we rock a little. For the most part they go to bed well and happy now, maybe a few tears from J but all in all, bedtime is an easy and happy experience. This is a huge deal. We have had bed time issues and I know a lot of children who have experienced trauma deal with on going night time issues.

Our days lately have been hard. The honeymoon is over and we are realizing just exactly what all the trauma and disruption has done to these two little guys. I remember telling Jason one of the “positives” of adopting these boys was that we “know” them. Because we had had them in our home and maintained contact with them…. I naively thought I knew what we were getting into. But I realize now you can’t know or anticipate what you will encounter with children from hard places. There are just so many layers. So much has occurred in their short lives. And it’s all compounding and here we are.

But bedtime is sweet and not just because they are going to bed. Although, that is a wonderful victory for me if I’m being honest. We made it through another day, yay us!! Bedtime is sweet because I enjoy reading to them and they love being read to. And I love reading Pete the Cat and Little Bear and Poems and Prayers. And I know that the simple fact that I get this one moment every night that affirms my soul “This is right”, is not to be taken for granted.

For all the thousand times I doubt myself during the day, I am so grateful to end most nights knowing I did at least one thing well.