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Scenes from Christmas

I had decided to make Russian Pirozhki for Christmas eve, it was harder than I thought it would be, so I enlisted help.  I felt a sense of hurried stress sweep through me half way through the process, at first worrisome, then thrilling, like a real, life mom who cares about this stuff!  “Quick, gotta get these things in the oven, gotta get stuff done, it’s Christmas eve!”

Such cute helpers 🙂


We set the oven timer for 20 minutes, and when they were done, they were impossibly soft and delicious, so it was all worth it.  I guess there was a reason for the lengthy process.  We had run out of apple filling, so we stuffed the rest with chocolate chips, best idea ever.

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We made small crowns after reading about God’s Kingdom, a highlight of their night


Our sweet library find, beautiful book



DIY presents


Christmas morning

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Her very own microscope.  “How did you know I’ve always wanted one of these since I was 7 or 8, my own mes-cro-scope!



First cowgirl boots, legit American now.  Her dream is to own a horse ranch when she grows up.

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We were visited by beautiful, kind, Christmas elves that made our day so sweet.  Look at this beautiful blanket!  We felt so cared for, so loved, it was such a gift to our hearts as much as anything else.


Genuine excitement over new socks


We ended Christmas the right way, with everyone resting, relaxing and so, so happy.

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This was just the day we needed.  It’s not easy to wait for your child.  To see them get bigger in each photo, to start standing without you, when they could be here.  To have made the silly mistake early on to think they would be home perhaps for this day.  We generally distract ourselves enough, in many ways with our lives very easy to do, but even to the point where I can’t bring myself to pray about it, or her.  I can’t do it, the thought of who and what we are missing hurts.  I assure myself that since Elijah prays for her each day before dinner, we’re set, maybe other people are too, I don’t know.  But she’s sweet, and has a bright smile, and doesn’t even realize what she is missing, which is good in a way.

We send our love from afar, and last night we were brave and covered her in prayer, bold in demanding a date soon.  In some ways, I feel like I don’t have a right to these feelings, we have never met her, but she is set apart for us, she is and will be in our lives daily, minute by minute on our minds, in our care, making those big choices we make as parents that effect them right now, and in their futures.   Our child–so far away.

In so many ways, adoption is so hard.  So silly, too long.  Frustrating.  Sad.

But, when I get down to it, I remember, the whole point is not feelings.  It’s people.


And like I’ve said to myself about 1,000 times before.  It is worth it.  All of it.  All the parts, even the sad parts, because my sadness is so mild compared to the true sadness for children in these places.

Remind me.  Tell me.  What is my focus right now?  Where is my heart?  Myself?

This week Maria told me what she remembered about Christmas in Russia, it’s hard for her to remember much in Russia these days.

“It was always really quiet.


“Yes, very quiet…

I remember, most of the kids would be sick, so it was very quiet.  I was sick sometimes too, and we would stay in bed.  And then some of us would go down into a big room, not everyone, and there would be one present for each of us, with our name on it.  I ALWAYS wanted a doll, I asked for one every year!  And we would open our presents, and leave them in the room, and go back up to our rooms.”

“You couldn’t take your present with you?”

“No, we weren’t allowed to have toys in our rooms.  We didn’t have anything of our own, we just kept them there for everyone to use.”

“Did you ever get to see your doll again?”

She thought about it, like it was the first time she had ever thought to think about her Christmas present, “Oh, no.”



Here’s to an un quiet Christmas.  And not missing out on helping because of feelings, which, tell me, are fleeting.


We didn’t do cards this year, so here ya go!



“It’s the treasure in the empty field; it’s worth selling everything to own–your entertainment, your 401(k) or your registered retirement savings plan, your home, your comfort, the sand where you stick your head, your last word, your right answers, your safe and predictable nice little life centered on avoiding heartbreak or inconvenience to your schedule.”   –Jesus Feminist 

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  • Kathy December 30, 2014, 7:08 pm

    Another beautiful post, I love it!! I love everything about it but one of the things that I loved maybe a little more was Andrew laying beside Maria, they are both doing their own thing but he is just there for her for support and comfort, I love the way you give each of the children undivided attention and all too often in homes the younger children are the only ones to get moms or dads attention, I always find that so sad!! I love the way each of your children have their own special place in your heart and home!!