As I am typing this a stillness surrounds me. I can hear my babies playing, but oddly it is very quiet. There are so many things I should be doing like laundry, or school, but I just want to sit and remember the joy of this weekend. You see it was a weekend filled with lots of activities, lots of joy, and lots of love! My family and I had been planning this weekend for several months, the anticipation and excitement were at an all time high by the time the last bit of the preparations were finished on Friday evening. The official weekend would first begin with a chance to see and visit with friends that we made on our first trip to China... one of our fellow travel buddies (now family). Mia and friend were reunited, and we could witness first hand...pure joy! They hugged one another and the joy and love just radiated in their smiles and laughter. They joined hands and disappeared to Mia's room and played to their hearts content. We rarely saw them during the entire evening. All the other kiddos just took off together , and we were offered a glimpse of their joy each time we heard their laughter drift upstairs. The adults were able to spend time reminiscing and then to share the other family's joy as they await bringing home their next child. We could see and hear the joy in their voices, the excitement as they spoke of her, and the pictures of her beautiful face. Another of God's children will have a family to call their own...pure joy!
The evening continued when another group of our friends arrived. We met this special family five years ago at the very beginning of our adoption journey. We experienced the joy of getting reaquainted. Our house was filled to its brim with love and joy! We had a total of 13 children and 4 adults all sharing our home for the weekend. The beautiful sounds of children playing filled our house. It thrilled this momma's heart!!God's love and joy was evident in every word spoken and the smiles on each and every face.
Saturday morning brought much more excitement. We were ready to party...joy, oh sweet joy!
After getting everyone fed and ready(no small feat with 17 people), we left for the church where our party was being held. Each and every person pitched in, and we had the party set and ready to go. As everyone arrived, tears of happiness and shouts of joy could be heard. We met new people, saw old friends, and just had fun being together. It is so hard to desribe, but God's loving presence was felt. As we joined together to pray blessings over our food and the group gathered, I couldn't help but be overwhelmed...the tears started to flow. I glanced around the room and witnessed all the wonders that God had and is doing for every family present. Each family was filled with the beautiful children that God had blessed us with both biologically and through adoption. A room filled with laughter, childrens squealing, teens joking, adults visiting...and it all brought pure joy! We ate, played, laughed, shared stories, made wonderful crafts (Many thanks, Ms Kim, Ms Jill, and Ms Connie)and ate some more... Joy...pure joy!!
After the party, we were blessed that our friends stayed on to spend the remainder of our weekend with us. The kids had fun and the grownups enjoyed our time together. Sunday brought church, and once again God filled us with his joy as we worshipped Him together. I had a hard time stopping the tears then as well. After church and Sunday School, we shared lunch at our house with more friends. We were thrilled that additional friends joined us and the joy would once again abound. Early afternoon brought the departure of everyone as they had to return to school and work the next day, but all of the memories, the laughter and the joy continue to ring throughout our home.
...and since it was Valentines Day, and Chinese New Year, daddy took all of his "Valentines" out to dinner at the Japanese Steak House. It was the first time we had ever been there. Once again, the joy would spill over... all six of our children would sit entranced throughout the entire meal as they watched the chef prepare our meals right befor their eyes. The joy that shined in their faces...oh my!
God truly blessed our weekend...
We want to send a special thank you to all our helpers,planners and friends. Thank You Ms Susan and Nicci for helping with shopping,food prep. and decorating!! We couldn't have done it with out all your help!! We very much missed all our friends who were unable to make it to our adoption gathering...we will have to plan another event ...maybe an annual thing??
All I can say is...JOY!! PURE JOY!!
 For you make me glad by your deeds, O LORD;
I sing for joy* at the works of your hands.*
 How great are your works,* O LORD,
how profound your thoughts! Psalm92:4-5