A week without internet access is wearing on me, so I have tagged along to Robert's sunrise Bible study this morning. Today is Kristina's turn. They have picked up hot chocolate from Starbucks and settled into a small booth behind me at Panera while I type away my thoughts from the week. Initially, it takes Kristina a bit to settle down. She wants to show Robert the verses she underlined from last night's reading. She wants to know what the word "offspring" means. He explains the definition and she replies, "Oh, like Samuel, Nathanael, Hannah and Joshua are your offspring?" "As well as you," he corrects her. And once again a teachable moment presents itself and he is able to share how God brings children into families; much like he brings us into his spiritual family. Quite right. Quite right.
Shoppers flutter in and out of the shops nearby even at this predawn hour. A small girl with a bag from the video game store next door clutches her purchases with one hand and her mother's arm with the other. I notice another woman exit the same store, attempting to balance two huge bags and locate her car keys in the purse hanging precariously from the crook of her arm. "GameStop must be having a big sale," I interject into the silence. "Huh?" they both reply and I realize why Robert does this activity one on one - less interruptions. I apologize for breaking their concentration and go back to clicking away at the keyboard.
I reflect on the gifts we exchanged this year. My new phone served as anniversary, Christmas, Valentine's Day, and any other holiday that comes demanding a token of love in the distant future. Robert: some new books and an audio series by Dr Kistler. Each of the children received a new book and a toiletry kit. The boys' with cologne and deodorant. The girls' with perfume and lotion. In addition, Kristina received an English version of the Bible bound in soft sea foam green leather with silver gilded pages peeking out from a cover embossed with an ivy motif. Rather humble gifts in comparison to the ones being hauled out of the video game store next door, but well received and loved all the same.
There was no Christmas tree this year. Ours was packed away somewhere in the sea of tan corrugated boxes. In the last six months, we have learned a valuable lesson. We have learned the difference between what we want and what we need; what we can live without and what we can't live without. With that in mind, our approach to Christmas was different. We took what we had been blessed with and decided to bless others. Three adopting families received our meager Christmas money his year. What a blessing to share what we had with others. We know it will hardly make a dent in the huge sum that adoption demands, but we learned once how every little bit adds up.
Christmas day was spent playing with old friends from the neighborhood, reading our new books, cooking Christmas dinner, and being together. We have been blessed with family: biological family, adopted family, and spiritual family. These are the things we can not live without.