Thursday, January 1, 2015

2014: Year in Review

In 2013 I gave a review of the year as it closed, both as an introspective exercise and to organize our calendar of blog posts and give them context. Here, I do the same for 2014.

Heather and Big Brother A traveled to Kentucky for a couple of weeks. We always value giving Big Bro the chance to spend time with long-distance family, as well as the chance to experience so many new things on his grandparents' farm and spend so much time outside.

Our first foster child, Baby M, joined us for a single night. It was a whirlwind of emotions as we grappled with the complexities of the foster care system for the first time.

Our second foster child, Baby Z, came and went in two weeks. It was another rapid blast of the foster care experience, fraught with sadness and joy at the same time, as we had an opportunity to see Baby Z succeed even in that short window. This time we took a breather for a little over a month before jumping back onto the foster care "waiting list".

We took our annual family day trip to Ithaca. This gets more fun every year as Big Bro gets older and starts to enjoy it with us. This was our first time doing a real hike with him in Ithaca.

Our family took a much-needed week of vacation at a cottage on Lake Ontario. We were able to unplug from technology, read in the sunshine, swim, cook on the grill, visit the beach... And we also were left weighing the fact that we had to say no to a brand-new baby boy the day before leaving for vacation.

We took a kids-free weekend trip to Long Island where I was in a friend's wedding. It was a beautiful, God-centered wedding and a great date weekend, too.

And, at the end of the month, our Baby S came to join us. His stay has been much longer than the others, closing in on 6 months soon. And we've had an incredible opportunity to partner with his mother to provide a support network for both of them.

We slowly learned that Baby S would be with us for more than just a few weeks as we met with case workers and the Baby's attorney. This was a relief, but also bittersweet as we got to know his birth parent better and saw how very hard they were working to have him home again.

Big Brother A turned 3 years old! We celebrated with a trip to the Strong Museum of Play. Heather and I are so proud of our big guy and the kind, smart, funny person he has become.

We enjoyed all of our normal fall fun with the additional joy of having little Baby S as part of our family. Zoo boo, Pumpkin Picking, Apple Picking, and Trick or Treating were twice as fun with two sweet boys to share them with!

The passing of our neighbor across the hallway dramatically and radically heightened our sense of urgency for loving and reaching those in our sphere of influence. People come in and out of our lives regularly and we have a responsibility to demonstrate the love of our Savior at every opportunity.

December brought a wave of doctor appointments and testing for little Baby S, but finally wound down right before Christmas with the news that surgery would not be necessary. We had an opportunity to reflect on what Christmas means and how to celebrate Christmas when we aren't able to enjoy our normal traditions and treasured December family activities. We also enjoyed the chance to have Baby S's birth parent in our home on Christmas Day, and were able to give Baby S the gift of both our love and birth parent's love in one home as one team on Christmas Day.

No comments: