Hi everyone! I’m in California, visiting my family, eating a ton and having fun! We decided a couple of years ago to stop switching back and forth for Thanksgiving and Christmas. My side of the family is REALLY good at eating, so we opted to spend all Thanksgivings together. That makes it really easy for us to create our own little family traditions for Christmas at home and then head up to Mitch’s family’s place after that, so I am so glad we made that decision. Besides, nobody makes pumpkin cheesecake rolls like my brother-in-law.
I have no idea how many people we had over there today . . . maybe 24? And, I don’t know how many dogs. So MANY dogs. And, I’m not really a fan of dogs. Having so many dogs around just solidified in my mind that I am NOT a dog person. EVERYONE (except my parents) brought their dogs. What? Seriously? To Thanksgiving dinner? Okay, whatever.
Regardless of the dog situation, we really had a great time. It’s usually so chaotic, but for some reason, this year has been so relaxing. I love it! I don’t get to see my family much, so I like to spend every spare moment just sitting down and talking. This year, I actually got to sit rather than run around preparing food. It was really nice!
I am SO thankful for my family. Some of you know about my “unique” family, and some don’t, so I will enlighten you all. My parents have been married for 34 years. They are awesome. SO much fun and such amazing parents. I was never embarrassed by them growing up. I loved being with them. I can only hope that my children feel the same way about me when they grow up.
So, from the get-go, they started having babies. First my sister, Jen, then me, then my brother, Rob, then Lyndsie. Lyndsie died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) when she was 4 months old. For many married couples, the death of a child is quickly followed by the death of the marriage. However, my parents trust in the Lord. They are different. They relied on His strength to get them through the terrible loss and look ahead to His many blessings. My brother, Tim, came along a couple of years later.
In 1985, my parents realized their dream of adopting a baby girl from Korea when Marcie became my sister. Like many adoptive parents, my mom became an “expert” in international adoption, so when she saw a 20/20 special on TV one night showing the babies in Romanian orphanages crammed into cribs, she knew she could help. She began her research and the Los Angeles Times picked up the story. People from around the country started calling her for advice and help. In 1990, she and my dad traveled to Romania to adopt a little boy, and came face to face with my beautiful sister, Angela. They never did bring us a boy from Romania, but they brought back a real passion for helping children in seemingly hopeless situations. International Family Services was formed. My brother, Nick came home from Russia as an almost-4-year-old in 1994. My little sisters, Hannah and Christina were adopted from Russia in 1999. Since 1990, my parents’ agency has brought home over 4000 orphans and placed them in loving homes. Truly world-changing work.
My family is amazing. I am so incredibly grateful that God placed me in a Christian home with parents who love the Lord. I’m thankful that they realized the importance of passing their values along to me, and were faithful to the task. I’m profoundly grateful that I have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and know him as my Savior.
When we gather together as a massive family, and I look around the room, I see married couples who love each other and understand the commitment they made and will be faithful to keep it. I see kids who have asked Jesus into their hearts and who have no problem at all talking about Him to their friends on the playground. I see a group of world-changers . . . a title and a task that has been ours since birth. I am thankful and so very proud to be part of this “unique” family.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope your day was as blessed as mine!